Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Why the Word "Just" Scares Me

I have been thinking alot about this little word "just." It seems pretty innocent and it definitely doesn't feel threatening. However, this word is one of the most dangerous words an innovator can hear. Why is that?

Think about it. If you are in a brainstorming session working on your new idea and a colleague of your says, "I know how to solve that issue. Just . . ." A few things have happened in this moment:
1. A solution has been presented but minimized and made to sound simple or without difficulty.
2. Expectations have been set and people are expecting that "just" will turn into "done."

But we all know that no innovation every was "just" anything. There are thousands of rabbit trails, countless false starts and a myriad of failures along the way.

Next time you hear the word "just" don't ignore it. Stop the conversation and challenge the statement. An innovation culture is one where the word "just" is banned from the conversation.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What doesn't fit in a Safety Deposit Box?

I have a confession to make. We have a safety deposit box . . . and we have never put a single thing in it. It's one of those things that has been a mental block for me. What do you put in a little box somewhere that is supposed to be secure?

I guess the reason it is such a challenge is that the things we value don't fit in it. The experiences that we have as we grow in our walk with God, the people that are generous with us and those we get to show generosity to. The ideas that we have as we live life on mission. All those things don't fit in that silly box.

I've noticed that many people who are focused on innovation do know what to put in that little box. They put their secret soup recipe or the outline for their next major book in the box and make sure to hide the key. Why do innovators do that? Well, part of it is that they have invested so much in an idea that they feel compelled to protect it.

They identify what they believe to be the key to that innovation and lock it up tight. But I would like to ask you innovators to reconsider whether what is in that small box is actually the key to your innovation. The key question to ask is, "How did God inspire you to create what is now stored in that little box?" I'm sure there were key people you interacted with, events you participated in, classes you attended, etc. Could your innovation have come about without those influences?

So next time you go to that small box and check on your ideas, remember where they really reside - in your relationships and experiences that God brings into your life!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Do you Silo Sundays?

I was thinking today as I attended church that we tend to silo Sundays. What do I mean by that? We who reserve Sunday as a day of rest separate out the day from our normal lives. We go to church and think about church things. We go home and think about the approved "restful" things . . . sports, fiction, etc.

I am a big fan of rest on Sunday. It was designed by God and our bodies and minds desperately need a rest in this fast paced world. But I think that in our efforts to separate out the day, we tend to go too far. We silo Sunday from the rest of our week and fail to see Sunday as part of what makes our week work.

For me I find that Sunday morning is a time of great inspiration. I am listening to wonderful music, getting great teaching, interacting with other believers and thinking about new ideas. Then in the afternoon I let my brain take a rest and so many of the ideas from the week and that morning begin to take form and shape. On of our mentors called that "letting an idea cook."

It is Sunday that brings the week into perspective. I see how God has been working, get new thoughts about a key challenge I am facing and I allow all the thoughts of the week to cook. It is Sunday that brings my last 6 days together and prepares me for the next 6. It is not a time to ignore the "secular" or "mundane" in favor of the "spiritual." It is the time to bring my week into perspective with a spiritual lens that should define everything I have done.

Some of my most innovative ideas and brainstorms have come together on Sunday. Now I don't roll them out on this day of rest. I don't run to the office and start working away at my new insight. But I frame my week around my new perspective and I am able to bring new energy and excitement to my week.

So what did you learn today? Did you allow your life to entry Sunday? Do you believe that God can use Sunday to inspire Monday morning?