Catalyst just posted this great article by my friend, Carlos Whittaker. You know I love talking innovation. See what Carlos has to say here:

ThinkSimpleNow.com has a VERY important post for people in ALL areas of life. Not just “creative teams” and such. If entire organizations begin to develop habits of innovation their end product is that much more effective. And for my organization, that product is eternal relationships with a living God.

I have taken their seven habits and graded myself on them.

1. Persistence – “Invention is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.” -Thomas A. Edison
I would say that this has always been a huge struggle for me. I have ALWAYS been a big picture guy. This is where my former time at Sandals Church has had a MAJOR impact on my life. It was J-rocka ,Nathan, Matt, and I for a LOOOOOOOONG time – and a countless number of volunteers giving their time to make ideas happen with little man power. At Sandals, ideas were more like .005% of the innovation. And without a team stronger than myself here, I fail miserably.

2. Remove Self-Limiting Inhibitions – Remember, innovation is more about psychology than intellect.
I think I am batting pretty high here. Again. Sandals. Meeting in a “borrowed space” for the last 9 years will do that for you. How can we make Pastor Matt do this…in a gym?

3. Take Risks, Make Mistakes – “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison
An hourly choice for me. Maybe even more often. When people have told you that you will not accomplish something because of A, B, or C, you have an automatic reaction to try and bunt, be semi-successful, just make contact. Every decision I make has to be the best decision for the person walking in on Sunday morning. And not everyone agrees with those decisions. So I can’t be afraid to take risks. Many times at Buckhead Church we did this. It could have bombed. But we did it anyways.

4. Escape – Our environment can and does effect how we feel.
On the money. Although I had an AMAZING facility at Buckhead Church, I found that when I walked out onto the streets of Piedmont Ave. and Lenox Rd. I was suddenly surrounded by the very people I was trying to be creative for. And so I walked. I walked all the time. I walked to Starbucks, to the MARTA Station – wherever my feet would take me. I’ve even had a creative meeting on a MARTA train just so our team could be in the hustle of the world we are trying to reach.

5. Writing Things Down – Many innovators and creative people keep a journal to jot down ideas and thoughts.
Nails. Go buy a moleskine. Then go buy this. If someone on our team doesn’t write something down while we are talking about it, I can pretty much bank on it not getting done or barely getting done. Write down everything that comes to mind. If anything, it makes you more consistent.

6. Find Patterns & Create Combinations – Ideas come from other ideas.
Doing OK. The blogging world has given us a great opportunity for this. When I started the idea of a worship confessional it was with this in mind – people sharing their sets, videos, ideas, and hiccups together. Blogging is just one step in this viral communication world we are living in. Find patterns and ideas that are working and rip them off. It’s ok.

7. Curiosity – Practice seeing things differently.
Horrible. I get a solid D here. Why? Because even being part of what I consider to be 2 of the most innovative churches in America, Sandals Church and Buckhead Church, I find myself creating nothing more than the next traditional service. If we do not question everything, then it remains the same thing. And I ALWAYS want to be part of a church that is moving forward. Not standing still. So I surround myself with curious people who don’t settle. This is essential.

I know this community is spilling over with creative people. What areas are you exceeding in and which ones could you work on?

Carlos Whittaker is the former Service Programming Director Genius for Buckhead Church – a satellite campus of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, GA. His blog – ragamuffinsoul.com – is (approximately) the most popular blog in the world. And he’s recently started the premier creative coaching network.

Greg Atkinson

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