As I was going through my news feed, I came across this article. Though I do appreciate a lot of what is being said here, as I read it I felt it needed some engagement. Because I couldn't find a comment section—and the length of this post—it seemed more appropriate to do an official response.
Let me first say this was a thought provoking article. The line that really stands out to me and I feel is the core of the message is: "Even Apple, the innovative leader of personal technologies, is successful because of their tenacious fidelity to their core principles. If Apple ever deviates from those principles they will cease to be Apple and risk losing their leadership in the personal technology market." (emphases added).
What I appreciate most of this article is the idea of being tenacious to the fidelity of one's core principles. I would wholeheartedly agree that innovation for the sake of innovation can be misguided at best, and dangerous at worst. And I say this as a leadership coach/consultant and a pastor.
Here is where I feel that the article breaks down a bit. As I read this piece, I get the sense that the author feels that the tension of 'innovation' and 'core principles' needs to be resolved. As though these ideas are pitted against each other and that our two choices are either being innovative or being faithful to our mission. Some tensions do need to be resolved, for sure, but I would argue that this is not one of them.
Take some of the examples given. Each one of these companies stay true to their core principles, but to paint a picture that assumes they did not innovate is a bit of a stretch. Apple is a perfect example: at the core, their "tenacious fidelity to their core principles" is what grounds them, but the package in how they deliver that idea changes constantly.
Or what about Southwest Airline? Are we to assume the technology of the planes they use have not changed in the years they have been flying? Even In-and-Out Burger has kept the simplicity of their core menu, but are we to assume that the way they do business underneath the surface has never changed? Or should we assume when they decided to expand and franchise this did not cause them to innovate?
I may be missing something here and I would be happy to be corrected. Though, this by no means is a new idea. I have seen this back and forth argument between innovation and faithfulness quite a bit over the years. I suspect you have as well.
Let me be clear, the warning of the extreme ideas of 'innovate and die' laid out by this article is deeply appreciated, and the author’s use of the business world to drive this point home is genius. But my question would still be this: does it need to be an either/or? Is this a tension that needs to be resolved?.
What do you think? Can we hold these two ideas in tension or are they in conflict with each other?
Drake currently serves as the Editor-In-Chief of boldcupofcoffee.com and the Executive Pastor at gateway.ac
Drake is passionate about seeing people thrive and come alive. To BELONG, wrestle with what they BELIEVE and BECOME people FULL OF LOVE, FUELLED BY FAITH, and ADDICTED TO HOPE. Drake is also a life learner and loves being challenged to think deeper and grow further. One of his favorite things to do is spend a good amount of time in a good café or coffee shop with a good book or engaging conversation. To be able to share in someone else's journey and experience is always a pleasure and honor.
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