The latest Podcast from Divign Thinking: DTCup002INNOVATION
From Julia Cameron to Matthew Fox and now, Austin Kleon to Elizabeth Berg -- these are some of the many pop culture mentors who have influenced me to live into a life defined by creativity and ultimately -- innovation. I don't give them all the credit, though. It is the reach back to childhood, and the practice of keeping it fresh, that informs my story of being a Creative and Innovator.
When I was in interfaith seminary at the Chaplaincy Institute of Maine, my cohort had the opportunity to spend the day with Matthew Fox at the time he was discussing his latest work, The Hidden Spirituality of Men. Apart from his riveting presentation on this important work, he spent time with us students in creative process. I will never forget one of his many conversational statements: "People in the struggle have the wits and the skills to innovate because it is a matter of survival." Years later, I have not stopped using this piece of wisdom as a point of reference, truth, and purpose. And since then, I have been a self-directed student of creativity and innovation. There may seem to be a missing word in there -- invention. Social media innovator Tom Grasty's capture of the different between invention and innovation:
In its purest sense, “invention“ is the occurrence of a new concept or product for the first time, whereas “innovation,” occurs if someone improves on or makes a significant contribution to an existing product, process or service.
This distinction matters when embracing the practices and skills required of effective, ethical spiritual leaders. No matter what venue we serve -- community, congregation or corporation -- it is incumbent upon us to understand the origins of ideas and things to substantially honor and improve on what has preceded our current creative/innovative task.
Innovate we must in order to remain relevant and to be equipped to respond to the most pressing challenges of our times. What are we changing? What are we improving? What are we creating? And why? As an important add-on wondering question, with whom are we collaborating? By definition, collaboration is a required discipline and act of spiritual leadership.
Innovation is exciting because it points to something different than the usual kinds of art. It happens within our historic models of institutions (aka, not only "start ups"). And most importantly, I posit, the relationship between the most crucial innovations and the source of the innovator's skill set is rarely found in credentials. Why? To understand the living source of the innovators skill set, we might only take a moment to consider our own response to a new idea (when we think everything is working just fine as is OR we recall our own experience of excitedly suggestion a new way of doing what we've always done). The life and work of a Innovator is not easy. It is important to honor that fact that this archetype can do no other than to create. Trying to compel a Creative to stop creating is tantamount to suggesting to a child to stop using their imagination. May none of us be so foolhardy.
This concludes, but will never complete, today's contextual framing for the second DT Podcast. My colleague and co-creative-conspirator, Joy Berry and I talk about innovation. Your curious questions and thoughtful ideas are en/couraged!
In the meantime, some questions for reflection and discussion: