April 13, 2015 Tony Morgan

The Innovators: What Churches Can Learn from the Digital Revolution

A couple of months ago I wrapped up the book The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson. Since technology is one of my favorite hobbies, it was fascinating to read about the innovations that led to the computer, the Web and all the digital goodness we experience today.

For me, though, it wasn’t just a history lesson. I found several principles that certainly could help shape what’s happening in the church today. Here are some of the key quotes that jumped out to me:

  1. Teams always outperform the individual. “Only in storybooks do inventions come like a thunderbolt, or a light bulb popping out of the head of a lone individual in a basement or garret or garage.”
  2. Our strengths can also become our weaknesses. “Computer innovators, like other pioneers, can find themselves left behind if they get stuck in their ways. The same traits that make them inventive, such as stubbornness and focus, can make them resistant to change when new ideas come along.”
  3. Choose a great hire over a great idea. “One of his key investment maxims was to bet primarily on the people rather than the idea.”
  4. Never do leadership alone. “Effective management need not always come from having one strong leader. It can come from having the right combination of different talents at the top.”
  5. Embrace simplicity. “The ideal of simplicity—making products that humans find convivial and easy to use—was central to the innovations that made computers personal.”
  6. You need great execution to make great ideas happen. “Conception is just the first step. What really matters is execution.”
  7. In most situations, collaborative leadership is more effective than directive leadership. “The best and most effective way to lead is by letting people do things because they want to do them, not because you want them to.”
  8. Innovation flows out of our relational wiring. “One truth about the digital age is that the desire to communicate, connect, collaborate, and form community tends to create killer apps.”
  9. Every creative needs an equally talented project manager. “They formed a partnership often seen in innovative teams: the visionary product designer paired with the diligent project manager.”
  10. Innovation requires focus. “One of the basic lessons for innovation is to stay focused.”

I think you’ll agree that these principles can help fuel healthy teams and creativity in your ministry. Additionally, these approaches will certainly resonate with the next generation of leaders that prefer a more collaborative, strengths-based environment.

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Tony Morgan

Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of The Unstuck Group, theunstuckgroup.com. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church (Dallas, GA), NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC) and Granger Community Church (Granger, IN). He's written several books and articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and Pastors.com.
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