Scott Hodge


Innovative Environments

Sep 30, 2005

"The fewer natural resources your country or company has, the more you will dig inside yourself for innovations in order to survive."
- Thomas L. Friedman, The World Is Flat: A Brief History of The Twenty-First Century

And how true his statement is…  In fact, if I compare my time working in organizations that had plenty of resources (financially & personnel) to time spent working in organizations where resources were severely limited – if even there at all – I can clearly recall that my personal level of innovation and creativity was much, much higher in the latter organization. 

It seems like when resources are in abundance, the simple answer to everything is "money" or "personnel".  But when money or personnel isn’t there – the only other option is to sit down, think and innovate.  Or…you can just give up and ultimately bring a slow and agonizing death to the organization. 

When we were going through our "survival" days at The Orchard (which really wasn’t that long ago…), during the thick of our turnaround/transition, I can remember sitting in staff meetings telling our staff that the innovative side of us was being developed and stretched in a big way and that one day we would look back and realize that without these seasons of lack and not enough resources, we would have never learned how to innovate the way we have. 

I’m becoming more and more convinced that having plenty of resources might just be the worst thing that could happen in any organization.  So the question that I’m continually asking myself is, "As resources become more and more available, how do we continue to foster an environment of innovation?" 

3 Responses to “Innovative Environments”

  1. I know this is off comment, but I was wondering if you’ve read “Blue Like Jazz”? Thanks,

  2. Perry says:

    Awesome stuff! I totally agree, having limited resources forces us to be creative. I think one of the things that churches with increasing resources MUST protect against is simply throwing more staff and more money at problems that seem to come up–we need to be creative.
    I also think…and this is just me personally…that it is a HUGE mistake for one church to financially bankroll a church plant. (Don’t get me wrong…I think it is ok to support a church plant financially…but not with a blank check) I am not saying it is a sin…but the church plant needs to learn how to struggle a bit, to pray, to beg God for an awesome work…to see what it is like to have to make decisions with no resources at their disposal. I know this is the way it was for us–and I would not trade those days for anything.

  3. David says:

    I agree with encouraging creativity but I don’t agree with the resources part.
    Growing up in Baptist church and then going to three different non denominational churches, I have found that the biggest problem is accountability, primarily in finances. One thing that the Baptist churches that I went to did was they reported to their congregation on the financial statements and financial plans and they had to be approved by a majority. I have yet to see a non-denominational church do this. When you have other people watching your finances you are less likely to throw it around at things. Thus you must be creative financially and on marketing and all the other decisions you have to make. I think resources are a very important thing. I don’t think they would be wasted if people were just held accountable.

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