“Innovation is the calling card of the future.” – Anna Eshoo

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about innovation and what it looks like across organizations. Specifically: Innovation in education and innovation in our places of worship. And in particular, the regulation of the pace of change within an organization. For example, do you wait/work for buy-in as you try and integrate innovation throughout your organization or as Thom S. Rainer says, “You don’t need buy-in if you truly want to innovate because if you wait for it, you’ll never get it.” In some cases Rainer suggests asking permission rather than seeking buy-in. As it is easy to get permission.

As someone who is comfortable leading in places of high pace change, especially when it I see the value for the “good of the whole” and I know the implementation dip will be temporary, I find myself struggling with how to balance pace.

A quick review of trade articles has resulted in some advice for those trying to innovate in settings where years of tradition seems to be driving the bus. And while in your heart you want to innovate, you also do not want to totally alienate everyone you are seeking to help. Here is what I found. Check out these ideas.

Move Past Ideas:
Creatives must actually create something. It is one thing to generate countless great ideas, but it is only the ones you act upon that count.

Follow Through Is Mission Critical:
Typically, innovative, big idea people do little follow-up on the vision. They sort of throw it out there and expect the team to catch the vision and self direct with the same passion. Follow-up with people and on the projects you are leading

Ideas need time to mature:
The first iteration of an idea is rarely the best one. Just like slow food cooked at home on a grill tastes better than frozen fast food in the microwave, so it is with ideas.

Organizations who constantly innovate and introduce new things often experience high levels of growth. Want to grow? Want to increase momentum? Then as Seth Godin says, “Ship!” Have a *design thinking* mindset. Beta test multiple ideas. Try them out on smaller groups. But keep innovating. Keep shipping.

You simply accomplish more with a team than you can alone, plus it is way more fun. Collective intelligence is hard to beat when you are innovating and pushing ideas around.

Design Is Important:
How things look and feel often are determining factors in whether visitors will return or not. Design tells visitors, “We were expecting you. Here is where you fit in.”

Use Technology:
Apps, bots, interactive websites and frequent touch points allow people to be impacted by your ideas and services in both one way and two way communication. Co-created content with lots of organic feedback is the fruit of using technology well when you innovate.

Artificial Intelligence:
We are all over the place with this one right now. Good? Bad? Indifferent? But one thing is for sure- if your role is innovation, AI is going to be at the forefront of your thinking. Example, by the end of the decade holograms will be a huge part of how we do more with less.

Big Data:
Statistics tell us about trends. They also tell us about people. Every number has a name. Every name has a story. Innovators know how to leverage data to suggest solutions that not only align with mission and vision, but help people through innovative ways not done before.

Digital Giving:
Online stores are important. Selling your services through marketing is important. But having ways to encourage *digital giving* will create a residual stream of revenue to support innovations as you develop them. Think year-round angel funding.

Created in His Image
Because we have the Creator living in and through us, people of faith should be the most innovative people in the world. And local places of worship should be the most innovative place in your community.

I’d love to hear from you in the replies. What is your take on innovation and the pace of change? Have any of you had experience innovating with technology in places of worship? Any advice for me?

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Powerful Learning Practice

During a 25-year education career, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach has been a classroom teacher, technology coach, charter school principal, district administrator, university instructor and digital learning consultant. Sheryl is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Powerful Learning Practice, where she works with schools and districts from around the world to re-envision their learning cultures and communities through the Connected Learner Experience and other e-learning opportunities. She is the author (with Lani Ritter Hall) of The Connected Educator: Learning and Leading in a Digital Age (Solution Tree, 2012) and serves on the ISTE Board of Directors.

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