What is innovation?

If one of the core topics on this site is going to be innovation, it might be a good idea to define what it means.  As ever, there will be countless definitions in various dictionaries.  The one I like is from Wikipedia:

The term innovation derives from the Latin word innovatus, which is the noun form of innovare “to renew or change,” stemming from in—”into” + novus—”new”. Although the term is broadly used, innovation generally refers to the creation of better or more effective productsprocessestechnologies, or ideas that are accepted by markets,governments, and society. Innovation differs from invention or renovation in that innovation generally signifies a substantial positive change compared to incremental changes.

For me it sums up why I live innovation.  First, it is about new things or changing things in order that they are better or more effective.  Second, it is less about incremental change and more about a ‘step change’.  Of course, there is an important place for tweaking and gradually improving things since very few ideas come in a state which is complete and without the need to be further improved.  However, there is something exciting about sitting down with a blank piece of paper and coming up with something that is entirely new.

Which brings us to an important consideration, that is the place of innovation on the Kingdom of God.  For some the two are mutually exclusive, however I would contend that innovation is a key theme in the New Testament; the early church had to change their locations and styles of gathering from the former Jewish ways.  Next they had to contend with the influx of people from outside the Jewish faith and the list could go on.  I believe that we too need to be innovative when it comes to our gatherings and even in how we communicate the message we have been given.  However, we must not be innovative with the message itself.  The Good News is objective truth and the only place that innovation has is in how we convey it effectively.

I would love to hear about your stories of innovation, both in terms of the ideas themselves and the process.  Please share your experiences of innovation in the comments.

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