The Formula for Innovation

I believe it was Andy Stanley that once said ‘Innovation is at it’s greatest point when resources are in greatest need.’ I would agree with that but have one small adjustment to make. I came up with this formula that describes the environment in which innovation explodes:

A Big Vision + Lack of Resources + Great Urgency = Innovation

Although a lack of resources does set the table for innovation, I have known a number of people in my life that have had a lack of resources and have never been innovative. Some might call that lazy, but I would call it a lack of vision and urgency. This week I have been watching a Ken Burns documentary on PBS called “The War“. (I know – I’m boring, but please no mean comments!) I love history and have really enjoyed this documentary depicting the stories of those that fought for our nation in World War II. The one thing that fascinates me about the story of World War II is D-Day.

On June 6, 1944 our troops invaded the beaches of Western France, most notably Normandy. As I heard the stories of what took place in that invasion, I was still amazed at how they were victorious in this invasion. They had everything working against them. The water was choppy. The US Soldiers were young and inexperienced. Many of the German soldiers had better weapons. The Germans had bunkers in the hillsides bombarding them with morters. The US soldiers were sitting ducks. But somehow our troops still won. This is where innovation comes in to play. The US Soldiers had a lack of resources, but that’s not necessarily the reason they won.

A lack of resources presents the need for innovation, but a big vision and great urgency is the engine that drives innovation. The US Soldiers defeated the Germans on D-Day because they saw the big picture of what was taking place in WWII and the urgency needed to fight for freedom.

If you never have a big vision and great urgency to accomplish that vision, innovation will be nothing more than something you read about on Craig Groeschel‘s next blog post. If you are a leader today and are desiring to see your team walk in innovation, here’s a few suggested steps to see that become a reality:

1. Go before God and get a big vision: A true God-Vision is one you cannot accomplish in your own power
2. Communicate and impart the heart of that vision to your leadership: Vision without communication is simply a Day-Dream.
3. Evaluate your resources: Sure God owns the ‘cattle on a thousand hills, but that doesn’t mean he’s given them all to you right now! Show Him you can be a steward of what you have.
4. Create the urgency for your vision: Urgency can be summed up in a quote I read from this week’s Catalyst Conference“If the Gospel isn’t touching others, it hasn’t touched you.” —Curry R. Blake

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