Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A New Year with A New Perspective

To survive in these tough times, innovators must be persistent. We angle, cajole, network, present and smile our way into opportunities to share our ideas. This determination and spunk is part of what makes an innovator who they are.

But many times that drive is overtaken by pride and self importance. It happens so easily. We start out simply pushing an idea forward and before we know it, we have convinced ourselves that we deserve the success and the rewards that will eventually come.

So in this new year, I would like to present the antidote to this prideful tendency among us innovative types. The cure is brokenness. BROKENNESS???? "What kind of cure is that?" you might ask.

I asked the same question till earlier this year. That was when I read a book called "The Tale of Three Kings" by Gene Edwards. I had heard about this book before, but God brought it to my attention through a sermon, a friend's recommendation over coffee and then through a vague memory of seeing this book in our storage closet. Well, my memory was accurate and I read the book quickly.

This book takes a unique look at Saul, David and Absalom. The first was an angry king who threw spears, the second was a broken king and the third was a rebellious king. The book shows David's brokenness and then challenges the reader to consider a broken life before God.

Up to that point, in many ways I had allowed the pride of innovation to rule the day in my life. But God used this book to show me what it meant to be broken. And what I have found in the process is that a broken person is an even stronger innovator. When you are broken before God, you accept that all ideas come from Him. You also accept that only the ones that God blesses should succeed.

A broken spirit does not push beyond God's direction and moves forward with courage under God's leading.

As each of you innovators begin your new year of work, what will be the driving force behind your work. Will it be your pride and self reliance? Or will you live a broken life before the Lord and ask Him to guide your efforts?

Blessings as each of you innovate in this new year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

An Innovator's Christmas Prayer

Dear God,

It's been a busy year and I haven't stopped and to pray like this nearly as often as I had hoped.

But this morning as I drink my coffee and reflect I want to thank you for the blessings in my life.

I want to thank you for the inspiration on those late nights where so many ideas were born.

You gave me hope to expect good from the most difficult circumstances that I faced.

You showed me the right timing to move forward on that exciting project.

You guided me to fix the key things and flex on the rest.

You provided the courage to be authentic in my relationships and my efforts.

You showed me that you can use art, cell phones, conferences, and countless other tools to impact people's lives.

You encouraged me to dig deep as I sought the new ideas and inspiration to work.

You celebrated with me on the good days.

You challenged me to be risky and dangerous in my efforts to serve you.

Maybe we have been talking more than I thought this year God. So many times you are there and I don't even realize it. In those brainstorming sessions, the early morning breakfast meetings, the quite times reading a book, the long talks with friends . . . you made all those possible. Thank you.

But as I sit here typing on Christmas Eve, the innovation that I am most appreciative of is your greatest gift. I am baffled and amazed at your majesty that would design the incarnation. Your perfect design for my life included your Son coming to Earth and saving me from sin.

Thank you for the hope and courage that you have given me this year and I pray that it would increase as I strive to serve you in the coming year.


Monday, December 15, 2008

How to destroy an idea in 10 minutes. . .

You wake up one day and you decide that you have had it with change. You commit to avoid anything that looks new or different. You don't quite know why, but it is as real to you as the steaming coffee you hold in your hand. You say with conviction, "Today I am going to be happy with the same things that I enjoyed yesterday!"

Once you arrive at your the office, and you settle into your chair to go through emails. But to your dismay, the first thing to pop up in your email box is a note from one of your "innovative" co-workers. You hesitate to open it, but in the end your curiosity gets the best of you.

So you click, you read and then you sit back in your chair and think. In the email your friend shared with you a new idea. The friend shares it with passion and with quite a few BOLD words and !!!!!!!! - you can tell he is excited.

You also know that this idea will change your world. If you join him on this adventure, the whole department will be impacted. The whole organization might adopt this concept and change.

So you think . . .

Then it comes to you. Instead of doing all that work to join this friend and his new idea, there is an easy out. You look at the email again and you say, "Wow, he has guts recommending this. I wonder what his motives are? I wonder if he really has our best interests in mind or if he is just looking for some more of the limelight?"

You continue your internal interrogation of this co-worker and within a few minutes you have accomplished your goal. Your mind convicted him of being self-centered, ambitious and prideful.

You say, "There that was easy!" and you continue on going through your email.

Change averted . . . idea destroyed . . . innovator tarnished.

Author Note: We have all had moments like I have written about above. You can admit it, don't be afraid. In those moments where we fear a new idea or a change, we decide to turn someone's passion into pride and in the process we turn our own status quo behavior into a humble badge of honor. By judging motives we hold great power to destroy people and ideas.

Why do we do this? There are many reasons. The important thing is that we understand our fears and our reactions so that we can change them. If this little story connects with you, share your experience . . .

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Don't Think Because You Might Have To Act

So you come up with this idea that really has some potential. You go over it in your mind and the more you think about it the more excited you become. But the bubble of your excitement is quickly pierced when you realize that if this idea ever comes out of your mouth you will have to do it. Then in fear you stuff that idea deep down and breath a sigh of relief that it never made it out of your mouth.

Does this sound familiar? There is probably no one reading this blog posting that does not relate.

We live with the reality that an idea shared is an assignment given. People like our ideas but the message is clear, "Don't bring new ideas into the world unless you are ready to carry them out."

But there are a few big problems with this and I am afraid that this mentality has kept many from bringing innovative solutions into the light of day. Here are a few issues:
1. Many times the person with the idea is not the one gifted in its execution. God may have someone waiting in the wings to implement if only the innovator would be willing to share it.
2. New ideas don't always necessitate action. Sometimes a new idea helps to create different thinking and will have other benefits.
3. New ideas challenge people to step outside of their comfort zones. If people only bring up ideas they think they can execute, then people will not be challenged.

So next time you stuff that idea down because you are afraid you will be asked to make it a reality, remember that there are other values and reasons for being generous with your innovations!

Hope Expects Good Responses

We got some great responses to the Hope Expects Good posting. That is one of the themes that is in our upcoming book about how we view truth (more to come on that soon).

Take a minute to check out some of the great responses from readers like you.