I’m thinking about how hard it is to turn great new ideas into lasting innovations

It is so hard to both be the one who sparks the new idea – the one with creative vision, the one who wants to go over the next hill – and the one who can put together the engine that captures the spark and makes the whole thing go. An engine without a spark is idle, but a spark without an engine is a forest fire that burns everything down.

You need both, which is perhaps why you have to have a team. But I think it’s possible to both have a spark and build an engine to make it go. You just might need some training on how to build the engine. At the very least you need to be able to lead a team.


Innovation is creativity that delivers.

For example, much of my daily work is turning creative ideas – on how to communicate with people in a way that resonates with them, primarily through story – into lasting systems, products and services to help the church. It’s what my colleagues and I did with screens in worship at Ginghamsburg Church, it’s what Jason Moore​ and I did at Midnight Oil, and it’s what I am doing now.

Innovation is creativity that delivers. It’s having the spark and making the whole thing go. It is a sustainable new thing that becomes a model for future work.

It’s what entrepreneurs and innovators do. I think, given the right passion and the right training, we can each do this with the thing we’re given to do in life. But it isn’t easy, or more people would do it.


The challenge is turning a creative idea into something great.

I passed my three year mark at Peachtree on June 1. With the milestone I am reviewing my year, the state of my ministry and thinking ahead. Since I also just saw my book on creativity hit the streets a day later on June 2, the confluence of events has me thinking about the challenge of turning a creative idea into something great, and maybe making it the subject of my next book.

It is both a personal and corporate need. Personally, we have dreams and don’t know how to make them real. Corporately, many organizations and leaders fail to sustain new initiatives for a lack of proper development and execution. We have ideas, but we usually can’t see them through to the end.


But I don’t want to write a boring book, either. So I am looking for the right language or hook for it. There are a lot of ways to talk about this, and some people have tried, but it’s often boring. I wanted to love Walter Isaacson’s The Innovators, about how new ideas played out in the world of early computing, but I didn’t finish it. It got boring.

I think the need is real, and I have written about 30-40 pages of rough material on the topic, but I am wondering how to find the angle to draw interest (like the way Think Like a Five Year Old draws interest to the subject of creativity).

Perhaps it is about the pitfalls of going from a great idea to a lasting innovation, about the ways we fail to see our ideas through and how to overcome these problems.

Would you be interested in such a book, as best as I could describe it?