Therapeutic Tuesday: The Question of Innovation

My brain is turning again toward school. It’s unfair, but I accept that it is happening.

As such, I have been focusing intensively on this whole notion of innovation. See, right now it is the “hot buzzword” in education, but I’m thinking more about how it relates in every area of life. Church, business, even personal matters.

As a working definition, innovation happens when we either invent something new, or we iterate something, i.e. taking an established idea or product and shifting it into a new arena, or finding a more relevant use for it considering the trends and future shifts.  Innovation is collaboration between voices and ideas that sometimes compete, yet find room for meshing as a common purpose is established.

Innovation is not just technology, though tech can play a role when it is employed intentionally for the purpose of innovating.

So the question becomes why are we doing what we are doing? In every sense? Why do we teach the way that we do? Why do we hand out worksheets? Why don’t we allow more student choice?

It is the why that informs everything else along the process. The why creates the cognitive dissonance required for us to analyze our processes and actions to see if what we are doing is producing relevant learning experiences in students, or successful life outcomes personally.

It is also the why that leads to the what and the how.

From a writing standpoint, I am finding myself not really so concerned about the teaching aspect, but more focused on just how to take what has long been a pen and paper medium, and transferring it to a system where students understand that writing is them having a voice in the world. How can I take what seems bland and expand their world by even collaborating with other classrooms outside of my school to create books, or newspapers, or even Ted Talks (I’m sooo shooting for ted talks)? Am I really willing to dedicate class time to Genius Hour, where I push students to pursue their passions and make meaningful connections between their minds, their worlds, and becoming contributing, leading citizens in our world? (Hint: YES, I totally am. We’re doing GH this year.)

From a church perspective, is there a better way? Beyond lights and music, or concert atmospheres within big buildings, is there a better way? Can we do church differently? Can we BE the church differently? What trends are we missing? What trends can we start now? How futuristic are we being in our planning?

And personally? What’s on the horizon? What’s coming up in my life? How can I prepare now? Why has my preparation not worked in the past? Why have I lived my life the way that I have to this point?

The why informs the what and how. I believe that God wants us to be innovators, and this innovation is not new to HIM, but it is us tapping further into the creative personality of Him than we ever have before. I don’t think this is anything new, but I do believe that being intentional about innovation makes God smile. There is so much potential for further creation that God intends, yet we have not even approached yet. But the appearance and rise of innovative minds, whether Christian or not, are all expressions of God in a way, and if we pay close attention, we will firmly see His hand and heart moving our world into some pretty amazing things.

So I’ll keep looking for ways to innovate writing. I don’t want students to write for a grade. I want them to write because their voice matters. I’ll keep thinking about innovating church because the church is so important to me. I’ll keep looking for ways to innovate my life because I’m not all that I was meant to be yet.

Innovation is scary. It is critical, but not condemning. It is NECESSARY!!!

Innovate or die. Always remember Blockbuster, and let them serve as a cautionary tale.

So I charge you, Teachers, INNOVATE!

And I charge you, Christians, INNOVATE.

And I charge you, PEOPLE, INNOVATE!

The time is ripe, and the season is here.

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