Two: What to do with a good idea

“…when one looks at innovation in nature and in culture, environments that build walls around good ideas tend to be less innovative in the long run than more open-ended environments.  Good ideas may not want to be free, but they do want to connect, fuse, recombine.  They want to reinvent themselves by crossing conceptual borders.  They want to complete each other as much as they want to compete.”

Steven Johnson “Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation” page 22

Let’s say an idea hits you in the face so hard that it knocks your socks off and makes you cry for your mom.  What do you do with it?

Do you try to ignore it? 

Do you love it, keep it as your pet, put it in a box somewhere where nobody can find it?

Do you share it, put it out there across twittersephere, facebook, the church foyer, around the office, or in a conversation at a coffee shop or pub?

Instead of hiding your idea, share it!  Collaborate with others, and get different perspectives from different contexts.  Gather up and connect thoughts on your idea from friends and family, seek out those who’ve done similar things in different places and spaces and understand the process as much as you look at the results of an idea.  

Even better still, connect your idea with other ideas.

Try it.  Your good idea will no longer then dependant upon you, rather it becomes dependant upon the community of people with whom you have surrounded yourself and your idea.  It is a testiment to the importance of community and points to the brillance of collaboration.  This is where innovation begins and creativity is empowered.  As I reflect on this, it begs the question; 

Is your faith community a place in which you feel empowered to share your ideas? 

(for a compelling TED talk on this topic by Steven Johnson click here)


  1. Good Friday Blues Band · February 23, 2012

    great question, chris. i would say that my experience with my church community has been really supportive in terms of ideas i’ve come up with – but i don’t think my ideas have been particularly radical. when april asked a similar question in her sermon on sunday, i wondered what do we do with people who ask really hard questions or people who disagree with us (i mean as a church community) or the way we do things -do we really make space for that? or do we say “this is how we’ve always done it” or simply ignore them and hope they go away?

    • chris lenshyn · February 23, 2012


      I appreciate that comment as it points to the importance of church communities being open to asking questions. Difficult or otherwise. It’s actually quite amazing what the right question at the right time can accomplish within any type of community.

      Questions create conversations, conversations faciliate ideas and opinions which all are extremely important for community. While the post asks if church communities dare encourage ideas to grow, you are pointing to the importance of question and dialogue… I smell another post.

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