19 July 2011

Learning Innovation from Jesus

Abstract: A study on the patterns of the healing miracles of Jesus and deriving the innovation principles of varieties, finding the needs, matching, personalization, knowledge base of physical and social laws, and motivation.
To many people, Christians are the straight jacket people and are not associated with creativity. The preaching of Ten Commandments and the requirement to follow the commandments has created a wrong impression and a wrong attitude. The Commandments are the principles for success and are not meant to restrict life. They are ways to empower you to live life successfully to the fullest. See Principles & Insights from the Ten Commandments.

Life is about creation, creation of new things, new meanings, new wealth, new conveniences, and prolong and enrich lives on earth. With such a positive and open mind, we can appreciate and learn innovation from Jesus. We just take a partial view of Jesus' work while on earth. We will look at the miracle healing incidents of Jesus.

One may think that since Jesus is God and he is doing miracle healing, he can just speak the word and all shall be done. But this is not how Jesus do miracle healing. There are many factors involved and miracle healing is not just a one way, God directed thing, because God has given man the free-will. We then can discover many interesting principles of innovations from the healing miracles done by Jesus.

Characteristics of Jesus' Healing Miracles

The Innovation Principles
  1. Varieties in Methods-  Ask "Beside this, what else have you considered?"
  2. Find the Needs  - What is the Need/Jobs you are targeting?
  3. Matching - Right Method for the Right Needs (SimplyDepth)
  4. Personalization to trigger the faith
  5. Universal Laws of Physical and Social Sciences(God Spiritual Laws at work)
  6. Motivation - Giving Credit even the source is actually Jesus Himself

1  Varieties in Methods - Ask "Beside this, what else have you considered?"

The first principle in innovation from Jesus is to have multiple varieties. Most of us tend to find the 1st possible answer or 1st solution and then stop there.
The secret of Apple Inc is not just early IBM's THINK but "Think Differently".

Jesus did not just use one method for all his miracle healing. He used different methods for different needs and for different people (we are touching Principle 3 Matching). Here is a mind-map of the methods and needs and the Bible reference for you to check up the details:

The most common method is by giving a command, followed by touching (Christians like to use the phrase laying of hands). But touching and commanding can be use in combinations. There is this weird method of spitting. Even spitting has different forms - spit on his eyes, spit on the ground to make clay, spit and touch his tongue etc. For the same sickness of blindness, there were quite a few ways. Read the mind map and surprise yourself with the varieties.

2  Find the Needs - What is the Need you are targeting?

There are great needs of different kind of sickness such as blindness, leprosy, deaf and dump, blood diseases, paralytic, and even death.

For your innovation, which particular area of needs are you addressing? What are the values you are providing to your targeted customers?

A good place to start is to look at the Jobs/Tasks that people do. Choose the tasks that are important, frequently done, and painful or tedious to do.

The killer application for the home PC is the word-processing and financial spread sheet computation, originally called vasicalc and is now popularly known as the Excel spreadsheet. The internet browser, website, the email, and the search are the killer apps for internet 1.0. The web 2.0 killer apps are the long tail peer to peer network that enables self-publishing of blogging and the new social network of Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Choose something that is meaningful, painful and frequently encountered to start on. If you are like Steve Jobs, then you do something that make dreams possible or even create new dreams that people never even ever imagined.

3  Matching - Right Method for the Right Needs (SimplyDepth)

We must use the right method for the right need and for the right people. Matching is a key issue in innovation. Some one say that you don't really need 500 TV channels for your to surf. You just need ONE channel, the one that you like to watch. This is a key principle. You don't want many choices to confuse people. You just need to make you choice obvious to those in need. Once they choose the right choice, you must do in depth so that he can have a wow experience. 'Apple designs for the dummies to use' says a famous person in Singapore. See The Message behind “Philip Yeo's Apple Aps' gullible ...

We must master the concept of "Minimize the Choices and Maximizing the Depth of Experience." I tend to use the term MiniMax. May be SimplyDepth is a better term - simplify the features and maximize the depth of the experience.

4  Personalization to trigger the faith
Jesus did not only use the right method for the right need but also according to the character of the person. We have the father with a demon tormented son who even said, "I do believe but help my unbelief!". To the Canaanite woman who asked for healing for her demon possessed daughter, Jesus gave the challenge, almost insulting, "It is not right use the Children bread to feed the dog"! If Jesus used such an insulting remark on the faithless father, there would be no healing and vice versa.

So, another key principle on innovation is Personalization. You try to serve the customer of ONE in the best possible way. With today digital technology, it is relatively easy to do a mass customization for one! A contradiction in term! But this is exactly what innovation is - breaking of contradiction or breaking of compromises.

I just want to add one more point that personalization experience is a journey of many contact or touch points. Taking a airplane is not just a in-flight experience but a total journey of searching, buying of ticker, going to the airport, boarding, in-flight, deboarding, customer clearance, taxi or bus, to hotel and so forth. Hence, it is not surprising that we may prefer to drive to KL rather than take a plane.

5  Universal Laws of Physical and Social Sciences- God Spiritual Laws at work
Jesus, even though as God, does not break His own rule. He has given man the free will to choose and need to response to God by faith so that His healing power could be released to man. Hence, he spent time reaching out to the heart of the people to trigger their faith. Such faith comes easily with certain people, like the woman with the issue of blood, she just heard about the miracles of Jesus and then she believed. Her faith is so high that she believe all she need to do is to touch Jesus' clothing. To get the electricity, just touch the power plug exposed wires!

Innovations does not violate the physical laws of materials and behavioral science. We make decisions not just economically but also socially. Even our social behavior can be predicted. See "Predictably Irrational" book.

Innovators must have a knowledge base of established laws of behavior of materials and people to draw from when innovating.

6  Motivation - Giving Credit even the source is actually Jesus Himself
Nothing motivates better than success itself. Jesus gave them the credit, "Your faith has make you well. Go in peace!" even though the source, the healing power, comes from Him.

Innovation is not an one-off thing. You need to create the environment, the atmosphere, the culture that encourage innovations - the openness, the trust, the appreciation of differences and view points, the risk taking, the courage to learn from failures, and so forth. Build the culture for sustaining innovation.

Lim Liat copyrighted 19 July 2011
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