Apple. Nobody produces better products than Apple. And it would be pointless to talk about creativity, without also paying close attention to shipping great products. An idea is nothing if it doesn’t come to fruition and not companies do this better than Apple. They have brought forth incredibly innovative ideas for cell phones, computers, tablets, and more. But not only did they have ideas to change the way those products were use, they carefully crafted an incredible experience with each of those. They did the hard work of creativity that requires refining a good idea and turning it into a product that has a great design, great user experience, and gets shipped.
Pixar. Most movie studios do not expect every movie they make to be a blockbuster. But Pixar continually produces hits with each movie they produce. Pixar is regularly pushing the technological boundaries of the animation industry and telling great stories through film and technology. If you want to look to a company that has a great creative culture, Pixar is one of the best around. The movies they produce cannot be created in isolation, so they have a team that collaborates better than any other. They have a culture that encourages creativity through random conversations that are encouraged the design of their offices, through the cross-departamental work that takes place, and through the importance of always refining their work to tell the best possible story.
3M. Masking tape, scotch tape, and post-it notes . Most people probably don’t realize it, but these products that we probably use often without ever thinking of their origins, all were invented by the same company. If you’re like me, you probably aren’t quick to associate tape with creativity and innovation, but the reality is that these inventions come from a company that has learned to encourage creative solutions to all kinds of problems. To encourage innovation, 3M developed 15% time and encouraged employees to devote 15% of their time to experiment with new ideas. A similar idea was taken an used by Google to encourage employees to use 20% of their time to experiment with ideas for new products or services.
What could we learn from these companies?
What would it look like for our ministries to relentlessly pay close attention to delivering great products like Apple? What would happen if we did the hard work to have messages, events, and programs that were incredible experiences? What would it look like for our teams to collaborate like Pixar? For our churches to have teams that collaborated across departments and routinely have conversations in the hallways, some of which would spur on even more great ideas? What would it look like for church workers to give a percentage of their time to experimenting with something that might not ever see the light of day? What kind of new innovations would happen?