More on Innovation

(picture originally uploaded to Flickr by Kenny Møller)

A while back, I hear Erwin McManus talk about a time he was speaking at a leadership conference. The speaker before him mentioned that a good leadership strategy was to be one step behind early adopters. The speaker compared it to discovering edible mushrooms. The mushroom tester dies when eating a poisonous mushroom, while the person who comes behind learns from the mushroom tester’s mistakes and improves on them. McManus tells the story that he walked on stage following that speaker and stated he wanted to be the mushroom tester because that’s where the edge of innovation and creativity is. I agree!

A month or so ago I posted this about being “innovative” in children’s ministry. That post was followed by a series on being dynamic, which started with this post. Recently, I ran across this article from the Harvard Business Review (one of the people I follow on Twitter mentioned it… unfortunately, I don’t remember who). It states that many times innovation can be killed by asking too many questions, especially questions precipitated by the phrase, “What about…”

The premise is that most of the time if we want to be innovative, we simply have to jump in and experiment and change as we go. We can get so caught up in analyzing possible scenarios that we never do anything. We don’t want something to fail, but we fail to do anything.

What’s keeping you from taking that next step in ministry to children? What questions do you need to simply put to rest and leap? Yes, there is something to be said about being strategic, but you never find out if something works unless you try it. What are you waiting for? Someone else to do it? Go ahead… eat the mushroom. What’s the worst that can happen? Death? Is that so bad? 🙂


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