Boost Creativity by Removing Things

creativity-by-removingYour church communications team wants to be creative. Digital ministries want interesting ways to reach potential and existing customers. These new ideas do not come us by accident. They often happen because of rigorous precautions we put in place. Let us look at some examples and see what lessons we can learn. Perhaps the next breakthrough in creativity is just around the corner!

Remove Distractions

Pixar is one of the most creative movie companies around. Yet they are quite particular in how they create their movie storyboards. They affix their papers to a wall, with clear thumbtacks, exactly 1 centimeter in from the corners. This uniform design creates a distraction-free environment. They lay out their movies, frame by frame on these papers. This allows them to focus on each shot, and tell the best story possible.

What can you do at your church to remove distractions? Here are just a few ideas I could come up with:

  • Create a meeting space with nothing on the walls but whiteboards
  • Have quiet times in the office, with no phone calls or loud conversations
  • Set up a decoration-free cubicle for co-workers to share

Fewer Decisions

Another company famous for creativity is Apple. They are one of the leaders in technology industry. The man often credited with their success is the late Steve Jobs. One trademark of his life was the small detail of his clothes. He wore the same outfit to work every day. Blue jeans, black mock turtleneck, and sneakers. It was one less thing to think about. Many high-ranking people have similar routines. They reduce the number of daily decisions to maximize the time they can spend on each one.

Where can you remove decisions from your operations? Often you need to create a guide or artifact to help inform your daily design decisions.

  • Well-defined branding guide tell you what font to use on a social media graphic
  • A website style guide help you know what color a blog post heading should be
  • Your voice and tone guide better informs pastors and other content writers

Avoid Fads

In 1961, Vince Lombardi made history with the Green Bay Packers football team. He started spring training by saying “Gentlemen, this is a football.” He began by assuming they knew nothing about the game. They focused on the absolute basics of blocking, tackling, running, and passing. They went on to one of the most dominating franchises of early professional football. They removed the latest fads and found success.

Where are you going to focus your effort? While a new trend may have big returns, basics will help you in the long run.

  • A well-designed, maintained, responsive website still matters
  • Check grammar and spelling on all your writing
  • Take the time to test technology, designs, content, and calls to action

Action Item

Start by discussing with your church leadership why creativity is important. I am sure many of them have wanted to revitalize their spiritual lives. One method is a retreat. They remove the daily grind and focus on their relationship with God. Let them know these ideas for boosting creativity are in the same spirit. Pray over what ideas that make sense for your teams. Try one at a time, and measure the success. In no time, your team will have many new ideas to help your digital ministries!

Photo courtesy of T.A.

Know When to Take a Break

take-a-breakSometimes we need to listen to the gentle whisper of God’s voice. The easiest way to do this take a queue from our anatomy. Two eyes, two ears, and one mouth. We need to look and listen more than we talk. Our jobs do not afford us this luxury very often. You feel pressure to produce content for social media. The next website update needs happen today. It seems the world will end if the spaghetti dinner does not get the press pastor thinks it deserves. Maybe you need a change of pace. This 250th milestone article is about taking a break.
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Improving Your Creative Process

boost-creativityCreativity is at the core of digital ministry. We take the message of the Gospel and spread it using technology. That is not always an easy task. The biggest trap we face are the ruts we get into. Every week we have the same publishing schedule. The only real breaks we see are the big holidays. When those events are upon us, what can we do to produce creative solutions? Here are four ways to boost your creativity and help your church’s mission.
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Taking Holiday Traditions from Analog to Digital

analog-to-digital-traditionsMany churches have traditions that have been passed down through the years. Some are a few years old, and others go back centuries. Yet most are still in our analog world. How can you move them to the digital space? This article is coming out the week after Easter. With this Holy Week fresh in our minds, we can prepare content for next year. I hope you see some great ideas here and take the coming year to put them in motion.
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Avoiding Your Digital Ministry Wilderness

social-media-wildernessHave you tried to get a new digital ministry started, only to have it shot down? I am sure there were many reasons why. That platform is dangerous. We do not have any time to waste. Our congregation does not use the Internet. Despite the arguments, there are ways you can move on. This article walks you through the steps you can take to overcome that adversity.
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What can Star Wars Still Teach Us

learning-from-star-warsYet again I am finding inspiration from an inconspicuous source; and again it is Star Wars. As a fan of the movie franchise, I noted quite a few things. The trailers, the merchandise, and the movie were all sources of inspiration. So what can digital ministry teams learn from this movie franchise re-launch? Here is a spoiler-free take on what you can learn from the various entities in charge of the Star Wars universe.
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Digital Ministry Lessons from Bruce Lee

bruce-leeRegular updates to your website and social media platforms takes discipline. You need commitment to those ministries to post consistent updates. And there is a certain amount of tenacity required to tackle tough website issues. Another space that requires discipline, commitment, and tenacity is the martial arts. This week I take lessons from one of the greatest martial artists that ever lived; Bruce Lee.
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CWS Podcast – Ep. 75: Special Edition – Faith Journey

cws-podcast-logoLast week I re-launched the podcast with a special episode on my professional journey. This week I delve into how my faith journey is so intricately woven into that same story. How a spiraling career led me back to God. Then, with perfect timing, I took my life in a completely new direction. Finally, I explain that my revival in faith led to this blog and podcast.
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CWS Podcast – Ep. 74: Special Edition – Professional Journey

cws-podcast-logoIn this episode I restart my podcast with a special message. I summarize my professional journey. This isn’t to just talk about me. I want to add some credibility to this blog and podcast. Plus I hope to inspire you to share your journey and experience with others.
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My Heroes of Digital Ministry

heroes-of-digital-ministryLast week I gushed about several people in the web industry that inspired me. Their regular sharing of knowledge gave me the information I needed to forge a career in user experience. Now I will talk about those that inspired me to continue writing about digital ministries. I am not bragging, nor am I putting anyone down. But I did not start my blog because of anyone on this list. In fact I was arrogant enough to think I was doing something new and unique. I started writing before I knew my audience. When I started researching, I discovered many others in this space. This article recognizes those that continue to encourage me.
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My Heroes of the Web

heroes-of-the-webThis an homage of the many people that inspired me throughout my digital journey. I started off like many of us, making crude, poorly coded websites. I made many atrocious design mistakes along the way. But thankfully I had people along the way to guide me. In this article I delve into those persons that imparted wisdom. Some wrote books, many produced podcasts. Yet each motivated me to jump into the world of user experience. And each deserves recognition as well as your attention as well. No matter where you are, there is still a lot more to learn!
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Security Lessons from Nehemiah (Part 2)

security-tips-2In my first article, I showed how examples of how Nehemiah prepared for security. He used his connections, asked for resources, then inspected his walls. Now comes the part where you must install those processes and measures. Nehemiah rallied the Jewish community. Then he fought attacks while building. Finally, he helped those in need. All of these are great ideas for implementing your digital security plans.
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