Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Innovators Beware

This week two high level leaders have fallen. The IMF's Dominique Strauss-Kahn and former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger have been in the news for alleged sexual crimes in the first case or an affair in the second.

As I saw all the media around these two situations, I can't help but think about the impact that our choices have on our life's work. We can be highly successful innovators and leaders, but if we make the wrong choices in any area of our life, those innovations are at risk.

But so often we convince ourselves that the decisions in our lives are not that connected. We think that somehow we can indulge in one area of life and keep discipline and structure in another area. But that is not the case. Our actions and decisions all impact each other and define who we are.

If you are working on an important Kingdom innovation right now, are you watching out for the other areas of your life? Are you asking God to protect you from harmful decisions and costly mistakes? Don't consider yourself immune. Instead depend on God for all areas of your life - not just the innovations you are risking so much to birth!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What are you Hungry For?

Our minds imagine that those innovators who are very successful have an almost animal-like drive to accomplish their goal. They are focused, passionate and never satisfied with less than success. This is the picture that so many of us paint of successful innovation. And some of this caricature is valid.

But what about contentment? What about resting in Christ as you develop and design your innovation? To the world, that seems like a weak response to the challenges we face. But that is exactly what God calls us to do.

But what does contentment in light of innovation look like. One example is the story of Ron Pritz at OC International that we are highlighting on the Generous Mind Blog. Here is a man who gets to steward a 2 million dollar gift for the ministry and help OCI to innovate and do new projects, and what does he talk about? Contentment.

Most of us in his shoes would be focused on impact, results, opportunities and innovation. But if our heart is not focused right with Jesus in light of these things, then our innovations will not honor Him.

I hope you will read Ron's guest post and I am sure that you will be blessed by it.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Innovation as a Means of Grace

Innovation is simply seeing out ahead of the present, identifying a need and creating a unique way to meet it. The problem usually comes in the first part of that definition. When we try to see out ahead, sometimes we have moments of amazing clarity and see things as they will become. Other times we miss it entirely. Still other times we think our vision will happen more quickly than it does.

More and more I have been focusing on the process of innovation in the lives of those involved. We usually judge an innovation as successful by what it accomplishes in financial return or human progress. But what if we were to begin measuring how it changes the innovator? I think you would find a much lower rate of failure among innovative efforts if one of the prime criterion's for success was the growth and development of the innovator.

The term "means of grace" refers to an activity that is part of the process that Jesus uses to reclaim our hearts and grow us closer to Him. Any activity can be a means of grace if God chooses to use it that way.

But I think that innovations are very likely to be used as tools by our Heavenly Father because innovative efforts require risk and great effort. In those moments of innovation we are extremely vulnerable and our protective layers are peeled away as we strive and struggle to accomplish the task in front of us.

In those moments, Jesus can show us many things. He can grow us up, tackle self-deception, give us new insights, and so on. So here is the question. If you are in a time of innovation in your life, are you offering this unique time of your life up to God and asking Him to grow you close to Him as you work? I would challenge you to consider that approach to your efforts and you may just find that even if your innovation never makes it to prime time, that you have gained more eternal benefit than you could ever imagine