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One of my favorite things to say in an idea-generation meeting is, “Let’s invent now. We can always tweak later.” One of the worst dream-killers is finding all the reasons something won’t work before you even decide if you’re going to do it. 

I remember reading once that the can opener came almost 50 years after the tin can.

Apparently, it takes time for innovation to ultimately find it’s true destination.

  • I also read once it was years before someone thought to cut a hole in the bottom of a basketball goal.
  • Another example, plastic was invented years before someone thought to mass produce it.
  • Penicillin was invented in 1928, but didn’t arrive on the market for mass use until 1945.

And one of my favorites- Andy Andrews wrote in his book The Little Things, “Never forget that, as a society, we put men on the moon before anyone thought to put wheels on luggage!” I love that.

Hopefully you get the idea.

We should not be afraid of small doses of innovation. (Perhaps you call it change.)

As the old saying goes, if you keep doing the same things you’ll get the same results. There is relative agreement on that one.

I learned years ago something that has been helpful to me in leading for change. Beginning something new doesn’t mean you have to have the finished, perfectly polished product in place when you begin.

Start with what you know today. Dream something new, invent it now, and then you can tweak and make it better later.

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin.” (Zechariah 4:10)

This has huge ramifications for us as leaders. We often wait to begin something until we think we have all the answers, but often we just need to begin something.

Head somewhere new today.

Pray about it, of course. Certainly, make sure it is a God-honoring direction. I’m not suggesting you aimlessly head in a thousand new directions. That never works. I am suggesting you at least head in one good (as far as you know today) direction – even without all the answers – before you have the final destination figured out completely.

Something I learned in church revitalization, for example, is sometimes the church or organization isn’t dying. Often decline is not your greatest problem.

Sometimes we simply need to do something different – start something new. We often need a fresh dose of innovation.

Start today heading in a new direction. Then tweak as you need to until you get where you’re going.

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

Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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