iPhone innovation

So everyone’s talking about the iPhone that Apple CEO Steve Jobs previewed this week. It’s an amazing product. But what really strikes me is how much creativity and innovation went into it. In one product, Apple has not only redefined the cell phone, but also the digital music/media player and portable internet. They didn’t skimp or take shortcuts.

It’s a creativity you just don’t see every day. It’s packed with new technology, from a touch screen that lets you use two fingers to shrink and grow things on screen to “visual voicemail” where you can select message on screen and listen to them just like you’d select an email to read. The graphical interface opens up all kinds of possibilities.

Here’s an interesting article from TIME magazine about the development of the iPhone. It tells the background story of how they developed the product. Innovation like this happens when we strip away all assumptions about what something is and see what it could be. It applies to phones, computers, cars, schools, restaurants, customer service, and more. Now, things like church, community and community service aren’t products, but are there assumptions we have that need to be stripped away? Are there possibilities we’re missing because we’re stuck in old paradigms?

As the TIME article ends, the writer makes an interesting point about Jobs’ phone.

“When you get right down to it, the device doesn’t even have that many new features – it’s not like Jobs invented voicemail, or text messaging, or conference calling, or mobile Web browsing. He just noticed that they were broken, and he fixed them.”

In looking at small groups and church, I hope to strip away everything but God and his call. That’s tough, because typically there’s a lot of momentum in an organization moving in one (or many different) direction(s). But what small changes can be made today that break out of old paradigms? What can be done to cast a new, healthy, life-giving and Christ-centered vision? When we start building from that point, what can we get?

UPDATE: For people looking for more information about the phone, there’s a great roundup here.

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