by Lisa Oates

Lisa Oates is a seasoned marketing and design freelancer and owner of Northwest Creative who finds joy in helping business leaders with creative work so they can focus on what they do best — running their businesses! She’s passionate about innovation, strategic foresight, and design thinking. When she’s not designing, you can find Lisa baking pies, playing golf, or cheering her kids on from the volleyball court sidelines.

Innovation brings about new methods, ideas, products, services, and solutions. It is imperative that businesses innovate for many reasons, but most importantly, to remain relevant to their customers. 

Do you resist change or think innovation is just a trend? Remember this: God was the first innovator. The very beginning of scripture kicks off with, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” in Genesis 1:1. Then we see His creativity literally come alive in the verses that follow as He continues making something out of nothing. We see threads of innovation throughout scripture, all the way to the end. One of the last passages in the Bible says, “And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true’” (Revelation 21:5). So not only was God the first innovator, but he continues to innovate even now.

Business leaders can follow God’s creative lead.

Innovation has become the lifeblood of modern businesses, driving growth, fostering competitiveness, and propelling industries forward. However, in the pursuit of innovation, it’s essential to maintain a steadfast commitment to biblical integrity. Building a culture of innovation that is grounded in ethical and biblical principles not only safeguards the reputation of your organization but also ensures that your innovations have a positive impact on society. Your innovations can be a witness for our Creator to the watching world. So, how can you innovate at work with integrity? Let’s explore some key principles.

Start with Purpose

The innovation process generally looks like this:

Innovation Process - Truth At Work

True innovation begins with a clear sense of purpose. Before embarking on any new initiative, take the time to articulate why it matters and deeply understand the problem you are setting out to solve. How will your innovation benefit your customers, employees, and the broader community? How will it affect the future of your organization and your industry? How will it affect adjacent industries? 

In a former job role, I was an Innovation Ambassador with Chick-fil-A. They have an entire innovation lab (cleverly called Hatch) at their headquarters where employees can innovate. The first step in their process, and where they spend most of their time, is in the “Understand” phase. 

The “Understand” phase is used to consider the current situation, the audience(s) affected by the situation and/or the audience(s) that could be affected in the future, economics, politics, barriers, cultural norms, and a whole host of other categories. The goal is to understand the problem in full (or as completely as you are able). What is the actual problem you are trying to solve? What are the barriers and challenges? What is going well? Who is impacted? Why are we trying to solve this problem?

Why go through all of this? Because many times, today’s innovations can greatly change the future, by both small adjustments and large shifts. By anchoring your innovation efforts with intentionality and in a sense of purpose, you can ensure that your work is aligned with your values and mission.

Innovation at Work - Truth At Work Blog

Foster a Culture of Trust

Innovation thrives in an environment where trust is abundant. Encourage open communication, collaboration, and the sharing of ideas among your team members. Create a culture where everyone feels empowered to contribute their insights and perspectives, knowing that their ideas will be valued and respected. When employees trust one another and feel psychologically safe, they are more likely to take risks, experiment, and push the boundaries of what’s possible.

One way to practice this is during fun brainstorming sessions. Propose a topic where innovation could provide some benefit (i.e. the movie theater experience) and have everyone in the room use post-it notes to write down their first 10-20 ideas for improvement. Then, gather as a group around a whiteboard and stick the ideas one by one on the board. Enforce a rule that anyone can add to an idea, but no one is allowed to deny or downplay an idea. This encourages positive thinking and building onto ideas, rather than tearing down and immediately discarding ideas.

Embrace Ethical Design Principles

Ethical considerations should be woven into every stage of the innovation process. Whether you’re designing a new product, service, or business model, ask yourself: How might this innovation impact various stakeholders? Are there any unintended consequences or potential risks that need to be addressed? By proactively considering the implications of your innovations, you can mitigate harm and ensure that your work upholds the highest standards of integrity. This is the foundation of being a responsible innovator. Lean on the Lord for understanding, and he will light your path. (Psalm 119:105)


Prioritize Transparency and Accountability

Transparency is essential for maintaining trust and integrity in the innovation process. Be open and honest about your intentions, methods, and outcomes. If mistakes are made or issues arise, acknowledge them openly and take swift action to address them. 

Additionally, hold yourself and your team accountable for upholding ethical and biblical standards. Establish clear guidelines and processes for biblical decision-making, and empower employees to speak up if they have concerns.The best ideas are often not the first ideas. The best ideas come when someone throws out a thought and others build on it. This culture of confident collaboration can only come with a strong focus on transparency and accountability.

Seek Feedback and Continuous Improvement

Innovation is an iterative process. As you develop and implement new ideas, seek feedback from stakeholders at every stage. Listen attentively to their perspectives and incorporate their insights into your work. Be willing to adapt and course-correct as needed, recognizing that the path to meaningful innovation is rarely linear. By embracing a mindset of continuous improvement, you can ensure that your innovations are responsive to the needs and values of those you serve.

Tips for getting quality feedback through an iterative process:

    • Bring people in and have them physically use your product or prototype; observe and ask good questions to gain valuable insights
    • Analyze online behaviors and trends for digital products and services or website landing pages; seek information in a focused way, honing in on important aspects, such as where the most clicks on the page occur or which messages seem to resonate most using A/B testing
    • Send surveys to gain insights from your core audience
    • Ask internal project teams to test the prototype

For more information on continuous improvement through iteration, read and bookmark this article on the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle.

Lead by Example

As a leader, your actions speak volumes. Model the values of integrity, honesty, and responsibility in everything you do. Demonstrate a commitment to doing the right thing, even when it’s difficult or unpopular. By leading by example, you can inspire your team to uphold these same principles in their own work, creating a culture of integrity and trust that permeates every aspect of your organization.

Innovation and integrity are not mutually exclusive—in fact, they are mutually reinforcing. By approaching innovation with a steadfast commitment to biblical and ethical principles, you can not only drive positive change within your organization but also contribute to a brighter, more sustainable future for all. So, as you embark on your next innovation journey, remember: It’s not just about what you create, but how you create it. To God be the glory!


Resources for Innovating at Work:

Are you interested in joining a conversation like this to grow your faith and business with a Christian peer advisory group?

Truth At Work helps business leaders, entrepreneurs, CEOs and executives be the gifted leaders that God has created them to be.

9953 Crosspoint Blvd. Suite 100 Indianapolis, IN 46256

Phone: (317) 842-1694

Fax: (317) 595-0933


© Truth At Work 2022 | Truth At Work is an ECFA accredited organization

Truth At Work helps business leaders, entrepreneurs, CEOs and executives be the gifted leaders that God has created them to be.

9953 Crosspoint Blvd. Suite 100 Indianapolis, IN 46256

Phone: (317) 842-1694

Fax: (317) 595-0933


© Truth At Work 2022 | Truth At Work is an ECFA accredited organization