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How to Increase Creativity and Innovation on a Tight Budget

Years ago I discovered a way to increase creativity and innovation when money is tight.

When you know you need to make a purchase, but funds are stretched and needed in so many other places too, ask yourself this question:

If you didn’t have the money, and it was something you had to do, what would you do?

This question came in handy many times as a church planter, and may have been when I used this question most frequently.

I remember once a staff member asked me to consider a non-budgeted purchase. The team in this area of ministry all agreed it had to be made. I knew we didn’t have the budgeted funds to make the purchase. Plus, I knew there were many other areas of ministry in our church that were competing for the same limited dollars. (I wrote about this dilemma leaders face often in a previous post.)

But in that exact scenario is when the question came to me.

If you didn’t have the money, and it was something you had to do, what would you do?

I asked this powerful question and then delayed in making the decision as long as I could. Honestly, I was only delaying because I didn’t have a good answer at the time. I didn’t realize people were so anxious for my reply. Apparently, it really was a NEED. A few weeks later, the staff member who presented me with the request originally came to me with a different request. They had found a way to accomplish the same need for one-fourth of the cost.

Brilliant. I didn’t know I was solving the problem by asking the question, but the delay forced us to answer the question.

If you don’t have the money, and it is something you have to do, what will you do?

Will this work every time?

No, but the use of creativity and innovation can often be avoided if there is enough money in the budget. Tight budgets cause us to look for ways to accomplish our mission for less. When this happens everyone wins, as there is more resources available for other projects.

Check out my leadership podcast where we discuss leadership nuggets in a practical way. Plus, check out the other Lifeway Leadership Podcasts.

Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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