2.19.2008

CAN ANOTHER COMPANY BE MORE INNOVATIVE THAN GOOGLE

This month's Fast Company features snippets from fifteen Googlers about why it's so great to work for the most innovative company in the world: "The Faces and Voices of Google". It's a potent combination: give really talented people vast resources and an ambitious mission, and fun and innovation usually result.

My first thought was that while I would love the work atmosphere at Google, I probably couldn't hack it there, even if I had the talent. My station in life simply does not allow the level of devotion of time and energy that is expected there.

But my second thought was that even for many people like me who balance work with many other important responsibilities, there is a company that we can and do give 100 percent to, and whose characteristics ought to be the same as Google's, and thus our output and enjoyment on par. And that is the work of us Christians to represent Jesus in this world, to make known His name throughout all the earth, to advance His kingdom and its life-giving characteristics to the hurt and dying.

We too are talented people, our talent having been doled out by a creative God. We too have vast resources, since God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. And we too have an ambitious mission, to see His Kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it already is in heaven.

And regardless of whether we are single or married, with or without kids, with or without crippling ailments, unemployed or over-employed, we are to be fully engaged in the business of God's work. And so ought not the same fun and innovation burst forth from us, as it does at Google?

Or (hang on with me here on this analogy) have we become the type of "company" that doesn't demand like Google demands, in the realm of time and energy and desire and output? Have we become like the kinds of places where you work 9 to 5, do what you can to get by, and otherwise go home to other causes and pursuits?

Google is a difference-maker because it has infused its work culture with the expectation that talent plus resources plus mission equals fun and innovation. It has rejected the notion that we work to live, and seeks (sometimes more admirably than others) to redeem work in pursuit of lofty goals and dramatic change.

When the world is taking note of the same sort of enthusiasm and impact by the followers of Jesus, then I'll know we are truly representing His name and His purposes on this side of glory. Until then, we will have to settle for learning from companies like Google what we ourselves ought to be the gold standard of, which is how to make a truly fun and innovative company.
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