Innovation and connection

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As a long-term career researcher in Australia’s leading National Science Organisation, it seems that not a day goes by without hearing the call to be “innovative”:

Innovation keep us competitive. Innovation creates growth and global success. Innovation keeps us at the cutting edge. Innovation creates jobs. Innovation will keep our standard of living high…

This all sounds great. But what is innovation, exactly?

Innovation in Organisations comes from connection between people

There are perhaps many definitions but for me innovation is really about connection. I have noted that many of the major innovations that we see unfolding before us today are in fact combinations of things that had already existed – it’s just that for some reason it hadn’t occurred that such things could be meaningfully put together. And so it’s the value that connection makes that really fascinates me.

Innovative ideas come from connections between ideas

As a Christian, you can imagine that same investigative instinct is at work attempting to explore connections in Scripture in order to gain fresh insight and direction. While the universal themes in Scripture are inherently integrated, there is one recurring connection in particular that never fails to amaze me: the link between heart and mind:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind…
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding…
Put on the helmet of salvation [mind], breastplate of righteousness [heart]…
The peace of God will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus…

Innovation of individuals comes mainly from connections we make between two domains of human functioning

So why is such a strong emphasis made on connecting hearts and minds together? It’s because we need both our heart and mind operating in union if we are to make the kind of choices that lead to life giving experiences. It’s because our hearts are best at choosing soul direction while our minds are needed to navigate and enact our decisions. And it’s because God is constantly desiring that we come to experience the liberty and transformation that unfolds as we seek his heart and his mind in all things. To be aware and integrated – wow, this is real innovation!

So how about you? How connected is your heart and mind right now – to yourself and God? What simple practices could you try to keep your heart and mind open to God’s innovative whispers?

Dr Jonathan Ralston is a Research Scientist
He is an Invited Contributor to Heart in Mind