Because other people are doing it

Do you have a problem at the office? Study the competition. Connect with experts in the field. Read the trade magazines. See what “everyone else” is doing.

Good ideas. Maybe.

There could be a lot of ground to cover before we proceed. Like studying ourselves, connecting with our own co-workers, reading our own emails, and reviewing what we have been doing.

The trouble with these steps? We think we’ve already done them. I wonder if this is true?

When we look for answers in other organizations we must be careful to remind ourselves: they are other organizations. They employ people with other personalities, perhaps other world views or other goals.

Industry leaders live in other places. Sometimes they have other motivations. They have other backgrounds and other experiences.

The differences that make their insights valuable may, if accepted without proper scrutiny, deprive us of opportunities.

Innovation happens when teams study our own, specific, particular problems and set out to solve them. We question and we debate and we struggle with one another. Each of us endeavoring to resolve what stares us directly in the face.

When our team, our minds, our experiences, and our skills are deployed on our dilemmas, we just might come up with uncommon solutions. Maybe things others aren’t trying.

Innovators do this. And it happens more often than we might think.

God provides gifts, which allow people to do creative things. He makes us individuals and sets us to work (most often) within groups of other gifted individuals. We are reliant upon Him, but not ill-equipped. He supplies abundantly.

I wonder if we are grappling enough with the tasks in front of us? These tasks were given – to us, not others – by God.

Let me be clear: I read and listen to specialists in my field every day. They provide principles and general information that I rely upon. But when contemplating a specific solution for a specific problem, in a specific circumstance, can I suggest we pause? Let’s delay the final decision until we have done our own thinking, our own praying, our own investigating, and our own trying.

Perhaps God will give us a slightly different idea He had set aside and waiting for us all along. He’s been known to do it. And when He does it’s amazing.