In the last video I shared how taking little bets can get you unstuck. To do this, it’s helpful to understand the concepts of Agile and Design Thinking.
Agile is a problem-solving approach used in software development. It typically involves a pre-defined problem, then testing solutions through a minimum viable product or MVP. An MVP has just enough features to be used by early customers. It’s a little bet that enables learning through failures, successes and customer feedback. Developers then “iterate” the product to improve it.
Agile avoids a long development cycle where large amounts of resources are used to develop a product without knowing if it will work or be successful.
How often has your church put a lot of time and energy into developing a program that you thought would make an impact, only to find that it didn’t? A Design Thinking approach can help you avoid this.
Design thinking is similar to Agile, in that it uses the concept of a minimum viable product. The difference is, in Design Thinking, we start without even knowing the problem to be solved. And no, declining attendance and finances are not the problem. They’re symptoms.
Design thinking is powerful because it is customer-centric. That is, engagement with customers is essential to first learning the problems, then developing potential solutions. In Design Thinking, MVP’s enable you to test that you’ve correctly identified the problem and that your experiment is a potential solution. Like Agile, the value of these little bets will be the learnings that come from multiple failures and small successes.
It’s important to emphasize the customer-centric notion of Design Thinking. You can develop MVP’s all day long, but if you’re not engaging with your community, your “customer,” you’re making uneducated guesses.
Like I said last time, little bets will get you moving and God can work with that. The next step is to connect with those outside your church walls. Who are they? What are their hopes, dreams, fears and needs? This means having the courage to engage in real conversations with real people. It’s how Jesus did ministry. You can, too.