Innovation Day. I didn’t know there’s such a thing at work. The company I work for celebrates people’s efforts for innovation annually. My company believes that we should celebrate innovation regardless if the idea became a success or a failure.
What is innovation?
Innovation is coming up with something new. It can be about process, products or service. The goal of Innovation Day is to encourage people to voice out their ideas. If the idea works, then great! You just made the world a better place. If it doesn’t then cool! You just discovered a way that doesn’t work.
Why is innovation important?
I Googled companies that failed to innovate and the first on the list was Kodak. Kodak knew about digital photography as early as 1975. However, since digital photography means filmless photography and it went against their current business model, they tried to bury the idea instead of developing it. Kodak announced its bankruptcy in 2013. It’s hard to imagine that they’re a top 100 company in the world 10 years before that announcement.
Innovation in the Bible
David had conquered Jerusalem and chose it to be the centre of Israel. David thought that it would be just to bring the ark of the covenant there.
David assembled an army to transport the ark. The mission failed miserably, and one person died because of the mistake. David was forced to leave the ark with Obed-Edom.
2 Samuel 6:12-15
12 Now King David was told, “The Lord has blessed the household of Obed-Edom and everything he has, because of the ark of God.”
So, David went to bring up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing.
13 When those who were carrying the ark of the Lord had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf.
14 Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, 15 while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets.
David saw a need: bring the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem.
David came up with a process: the military mission to recover the ark.
When that didn’t work, David came up with a new way to bring the ark home: Praise and worship God while transporting the ark of the covenant.
The idea was weird, messy and looked stupid. It was so crazy that David’s wife despised him for it. However, it worked!
Innovation may seem crazy at times but if we don’t do it, we will fail. So how are we going to innovate? We need to focus on 3 things: foster, motivate and practice innovation.
One CEO of a digital company said, “humility is not thinking that you are the smartest person in the room.” What he meant was we must be open to people’s ideas. We must be willing to listen to other people’s opinions to get a better picture of the situation. Remember, we all have blind spots and getting others to contribute will give more perspective on the best way to approach goals.
There is an Australian football team that has a “no dickhead” policy. This policy means that if you do something stupid, anyone in the team can call you out regardless of your position in the team. This policy also allows people to share their ideas without the fear of being ridiculed.
Encourage everyone to come up with big, hairy, and monstrous goals. If you’re a CEO, permit innovation in your company. Let employees experiment. If you’re an employee, voice out your ideas. If an idea works, welcome change. We should encourage everyone to come up with ideas.
Everyone must also accept that not all ideas would work. So, expect people to challenge your ideas, and be prepared to defend them. Defending ideas can be a tiring process and may feel uncomfortable. If you do feel uncomfortable, make it a personal development plan to be okay with this process.
Think about problems and find solutions. Sit down and think about what we can do today that will move our company or move our personal goals to the next level. Once we identify a need, think about how we can help solve problems.
One thing that is good to do is to form a team. Let’s keep that circle of friends that we know who would give us honest and useful feedback. Being the lone genius is not a thing anymore.
English Standard Version (ESV)
21 No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. 22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.”
New blessings require new mindsets. If we don’t spearhead innovation, we will be left out and become irrelevant. Let’s foster, motivate and practice innovation for the glory of Jesus’ name.
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