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Innovation's Dirty Little Secret



Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret by Larry Osborne


What is it that makes serial innovators be successful?  Why is it that so many people fail in their entrepreneurial efforts?  Pastor Larry Osborne tackles this relevant subject in his new book entitled Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret.  After bearing witness to the crash and burn attempts at innovation in Ch. 1 (18), Larry makes the point that ‘failure is such an integral part of innovation and change’ (19).    Larry powerfully envisions that successful organizations will not mask their failures or cover them up through quick fixes but will learn to gain wisdom from the most trying of situations.  This book is an excellent resource for those in ministry and those in businesses that are trying to find the right balance of innovation and wisdom.

In chapter 6, Larry points out that two of innovation’s most powerful igniters are two questions: What frustrates me most and What’s broken most” (48)?  These annoyances aren’t at the level of another’s workers sarcastic comments but deeper, gnawing frustrations.  On one of the most telling lines in this chapter is when Larry writes, “You don’t have to be a naturally born innovator to ignite the innovation process.  You just have to be frustrated enough to believe there’s a better way.  You don’t have to be the one who comes up with the better way” (49).  If our frustration with the way things are going is to be overcome, then our frustration must be fuel for the fire of creativity.  Looking for people who are innovative and picking their brains for a new vision and imagination is key to moving beyond frustration to a new vision.  Larry pointed out his own problem in this chapter at the church he pastors when the church could seat 500 people but there were 3,000 in attendance.  By promoting video venues where people could watch the worship service on a screen, the church was able to get the word out without frustrating growth.  The broken problem turned into a blessing in disguise for Larry and his church.

Lastly, Larry offers some wise advice on surveys in chapter 13.  He writes, “When it comes to innovation, the only votes that matter are the yes votes.  You need enough yes votes to support a trial run….If it proves to b e a truly great idea, the number of no votes won’t matter.  They’ll change their votes and minds soon enough” (105).  Counting the no votes doesn’t expedite the innovation process and this is one of the biggest problems with voting.  Yet, if you can get enough people in support of an organizational change, then those who rail against it will either join the team or get off the tracks.  I would add that those who don’t support change often have thought little about an additional proposal for change but rather are against the vote no matter what.

Thank to Cross Focused Reviews and Zondervan for the copy of this book in exchange for review.

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