Fellow innovators and change-makers:
Innovation is hard.
It can be painful, surprising, unexpected, out of control, positive, negative, closely managed, loosely managed, frustrating, life-giving … this list goes on and on with seemingly contradictory adjectives. One thing that innovation is not is avoidable. Things change. As our world and technology continue to move faster and faster, we cannot avoid change for very long.
This reality is true in our work, home life, and in our spiritual lives. Often, when we talk about innovation, we like to only think of the good outcomes and the positive impacts. But all change comes with both good and bad consequences. The simple definition of innovation that we’ve adopted at HOPE is something new that has impact. As we think about being Christ-centered and how we need to innovate to better serve our stakeholders and fulfill our mission, we cannot be passive. Our faith does play a role in our approach to innovation.
Innovation is personal.
One reason that innovation is hard is that people are always involved. And people generally don’t like change. As we work together toward a common goal, we create culture—norms, hierarchies, and expectations. When change comes, it bumps into these established norms. Some new innovations are assimilated smoothly; others will cause pain, confusion, and even conflict.
This can be very personal. But we know that pain is not all bad. We experience pain in exercise, but we push through in pursuit of a positive health impact. We listen to trainers to improve our fitness and avoid injury. With any innovation, it’s important to recognize together that it will likely be painful to ourselves and others. But with mutual grace, we can communicate and push through this pain.
God is no stranger to innovation or our personal struggles.
Our God invented innovation. We know the verses related to God creating the universe, changing the way He relates to us, sending His Son, and making us a new creation through Christ. As I’ve wrestled to make sense of the spiritual side of innovation, I’ve found comfort in what God has to say about our personal struggles: fear, anxiety, frustration, anger, ego, and control. He says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. … Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). If we’re not careful, our fears become innovation killers. These are personal and spiritual struggles we all experience. They are at play in our work lives, patterns, and culture we create together.
As we seek Christ-centered innovation, let’s examine what God has to say about how we can be more bold, confident, humble, resilient, others-centered, and flexible. Can we learn how to be intentional in innovation? How can we push through the pain of change in healthy ways? How do we give Christ-like grace to each other as we strive to accomplish our mission together?
In this five-day reading plan, discover why Christian innovation is not simply a human effort to improve or create new value, but a part of the Creator’s identity and therefore part of ours, as His creation.