Independent Study: Week 6

Honing, focusing, finding direction, gaining traction.

It's finally starting to dig in, and this week was a great opportunity to reconnect with the master of innovation, Marty Neumeier. As I define what I personally mean by "innovation" (and what the key proponents, like Neumeier, mean) I am beginning to get some real ideas about what innovation can mean to faith-based organizations. And while i do not like the idea of "branding faith" (to use Phil Cooke's book title) I believe that there is great benefit for a faith-based organization to remain "agile" (to use one of Neumeier's words). One of the topics I would like to address in the thesis would be what it can mean and what it might look like for a church, faith-based school, or other faith-based ministry to be "agile."

One of the key words that Neumeier uses that I believe is essential to effective innovation in faith-based organizations is empathy. Empathy may be generally defined as "the ability to understand and share the feelings of others," (Apple Dictionary Widget). As I see it, empathy is the twin to biblical "charity," or love. Here is a key tenant of Design Thinking that applies directly to faith-based organizations: the creative power of charity. I think there is much promise for application here.

The ideas of innovation also suggest that business leaders solicit solutions to corporate problems from the employees, rather than continuing the "secret society" type of management style that makes decisions in a private boardroom and then passes down mandates to the company. I want to explore the possibilities of churches (in particular) and other faith-based organizations doing the same.

While divine authority and sound doctrine should never be altered or eliminated in favor of innovation, I am interested in how a faith-based organization might be able to revitalize its work through the consideration of design thinking.