One of the magazines that I love to read is Fast Company. This magazine focuses on ingenuity and creativeness in business. It is a secular magazine that has some great articles. It is a source to challenge people and demonstrate how to be creative in the marketplace. I first began reading their articles when I was in business; now that I am in the ministry, I find them even more intriguing. I like to challenge myself and try apply some of the lessons learned within a church setting.
In the July/August (2011) edition, There is an article written by Ellen McGirt entitled "Can This Man Save This Girl?". "The Man" in the title is referring to Matt Damon. Matt is a well known actor and philanthropist. I am generally skeptical of actors turned philanthropists! But, I think Matt is a very bright man and seems to have a good head on his shoulders. He helped create an entity called Water.org. The article was discussing their mission of bringing water to third world countries.
Here is an intriguing paragraph: "In the '80s and '90s, the approach was really supply-driven-'We are here to give you your water project.'" he says. Dig a well , put up a plaque, take a picture, and scram," "People were designing projects for people, not with them." White came to understand that community engagement (a term rendered almost meaningless by politicians, major brands, and social networking companies) is a life-or-death strategy in the developing world. "There needs to be a water committee. At least 80% of the community needs to sign up and raise money for the project, participate in its construction and upkeep," he says. That's how a project turns from top-down charity to a bottom-up sustainability. This led him to an important insight - an "orthogonal insight," his geeky term for the kind of thinking in which forces that appear unrelated or irrelevant help solve a problem in an unexpected way. (79-80)"
I have a couple of thoughts on this article and paragraph:
First, this paragraph is spot on true. We need to teach people how to have ownership and give them the opportunity to participate in the solving of their problems so that in the future they may do it for themselves. The old way of showing up with a solution would eventually fizzle out after the press left because the people weren't taught how to take care of it. They had no ownership. But, when they have to purchase it and put labor into it, they not only feel the satisfaction of accomplishment, they also begin to understand that they don't simply need handouts.
Also,I also like the idea of an "orthogonal" thought.: An insight where "forces that appear unrelated or irrelevant help solve a problem in an unexpected way". In business and church, we must think creatively enough to take different approaches to problems. Sometimes it will be unconventional and strange, but will solve the problem way more efficiently!
And remember that God is the original author of the orthogonal insight! And ultimately Jesus was THE solution to the problem of sin. Previously God utilized the sacrificial system to highlight sin, but never remove it. So, when Jesus came and erased our sin, God revealed his grace and mercy on a grand scale!
I am a man on a journey...