Friday, August 28, 2009

Innovation in Organizing Relationships

One of the most important resources an innovator has are his/her relationships. Think about it. Where do you get your inspiration, go to ask for help in brainstorming, go for money to fund your idea, etc. Your relationships are the fabric that allow you to innovate.

But what happens in a world where relationships are exploding through social media. Now if you are a well connected person you might have up to 1000 friends on facebook and your twitter feed might have several thousand followers. But do you know any of these people? How do you organize these relationships to be effective in your ministry innovation?

I recently posted a cartoon about social networks and relationships on facebook and began a great discussion about this topic with a fellow innovator. As we talked, he shared a system he has come up with to manage relationships and make them effective in this sea of information.

Listen to him in his own words:
"I think there is a difference between "friends," "acquaintances," and "followers." I usually think of things in terms of Dunbar's number: I have my best 15 relationships, my close 50, my near 75, and my "tribal" 150. Anything beyond that is "distant horizon associates": people who follow me or whom I follow because we share common ideas, visions . . ."

The great thing about this system is that it allows you to prioritize the sea of information and connections out there and proactively stay connected to those people that you really believe are key in your life and spiritual growth. At the same time it gives you a way not to avoid the larger group - but to keep the mass of information in context.

I love what he says about the flow of information:
"The great thing is that I don't try to keep up with every Facebook/Twitter/Friendfeed post. I view them as a river or a stream that I dip into at various times."

One of the things I appreciated about his approach is that it is not static. He focuses on those relationships that are closest, but as he reads, interacts and grows personally, his system allows people to change their connection to him - closer or further away.
"The closer someone is to me, the more often I will probably be in touch with them.... my close 15 I'm probably in touch with at least once every other week if not weekly... so I'll find out what's going on in their lives from FB posts, emails, phone calls etc. typically daily or weekly. I have different levels of involvement with each of the levels (15-50-75-150-followers). I don't attempt to deepen connections with followers unless they "move" into one of the other levels..."

But you may be asking, how can you manage this in a practical way? Here is his approach:
"I have rules set up in my gmail account to automatically tag all messages from certain people according to which category they are in "best15," "close50", "near75," "tribe150" and slot them in. Then I have multiple inbox views in Gmail that let me see newest emails, as well as newest emails from best15 ... Read Moreand close50. I always respond to best15 and close50 first and then deal with everything else. And I make it a point to check in with best15 at least once a week or once every other week, just to see what they're doing, if I haven't talked to them before."

Innovation requires a proactive approach to relationships and ideas. How will you organize your relationships for greater Kingdom Impact?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Transitions Provide New Opportunities for Innovation

Many times, transitions provide key opportunities to re-evaluate our assumptions and find breakthroughs in our thinking. I am going through several key transitions and it will impact my writing on this blog significantly. I would like to share the transition with you.

Please read my full post on our Generous Mind Blog.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Innovation Mix

My verse all summer has been Romans 12:12 "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer." I'm not good at memorizing so I love verses like this. They are short and have 3 things!

Anyway, this has been a key verse for me because of its implications to ministry and innovation. Let me break it down for you:

1. Joyful in hope: An innovator has to be joyful. This is key because there are so many challenges and half steps in innovation work. I can guarantee you will struggle if you are depending on your own strength. But if you rely on hope in Christ, you can overcome the great obstacles that you will encounter. It is because of the hope we have that we can see beyond challenges to the big goal in front of us. That big goal is your innovation that God has set before you.

2. Patient in Affliction: When you suffer in the innovation process, be patient. So many times we demand that things be set right immediately or fixed quickly. But I have witnessed that in the pain of struggle to accomplish an innovation God will provide new opportunities and ideas that I would never have had if the pain had been avoided. Pain is an important part of what God uses to refine our ideas and our vision.

3. Faithful in Prayer: Hope is impossible to attain and Affliction is impossible to overcome without prayer. Prayer is how God keeps us steady and reassures us in our work. We tend to wander in our thinking and in our emotions but prayer brings us back to the core and reminds us of what God has put in our hearts. If we seek Him in prayer, God will not let us loose site of the vision He has given us.

I know that many of you are struggling today. You are discouraged, tired, out of ideas, questioning . . .

This verse in Romans is for you! Be encouraged.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Who is TED anyway

You have heard me talk about the TED conference many times in my innovation posts. It is the premeir conference of innovators in the US. This conference is very difficult to get into and requires applications as a fellow.

I would love to see some Christian innovators as part of that group for 2010. Would you take the time to fill out the application and see what God will do. So many times I think we assume that we will not be accepted by the secular world of innovation, but we are discounting God's will be be glorified through our work.

I challenge you to dream big and apply to be a TED fellow:

Accountability as a Foundation of Innovation

When we think about innovation and the foundations that make it possible, we can't overlook accountability. If we do not have relationships of accountability, how will we ever push through on the challenging issues that are in front of us as innovators?

But so many times we decide to go it alone. Either we are scared of rejection, we don't want to take the time, or we don't want to share our big idea. But those reasons are all from our flesh - not from God. God requires us to be accountable to Him and wants us to be accountable with other believers along the way.

Read my Generous Mind post on this issue of accountability:

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Innovation In Mission Ebook is Here

I know that so many of you live around the world and have had trouble accessing the "Innovation in Mission" content. Well, our publisher has launched the book as an ebook available to purchase at a lower price. I hope that this resource will be more accessible to you and others you know. Please share the link with others:

Blessings as you innovate!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Harnessing a Movement

In Matthew 4:25 the Gospels describe the crowds that followed Jesus as He spoke and healed. These were not small clusters of people interested in a curious man. These were large gatherings surrounding Jesus on all sides . . . pushing in and grasping for His hand. This was a movement. People were desperate and empty and Jesus was giving true life.

Take a minute and watch this video with me and then lets talk about it.

Jay Walker is talking about a movement. But in this case it was not the movement that surrounded Jesus 2000 years ago. It is a movement of people learning English. What does this have to do with innovation? EVERYTHING!

Innovation comes out of movements because movements represent crying needs expressed by a significant group of people. Out of movements come solutions, new ideas, creative expressions of truth and on and on. They jump of the pages of history because there is momentum behind them. The movement encourages solutions to the need that began it all.

What movements are going on in your world? How can you meet the needs of those movements through innovation and thus bring people closer to Jesus? This is the question you should be asking.

One example might be the movement of social media. How can you use that momentum to create new innovation. Another example is micro enterprise. This is a growing area that is empowering many to work and countless more to be a part through giving.

These are just two examples of movements. Now it's your turn. Share a movement in your sphere of influence and how you might use it to innovate for the Kingdom.