Pursuing The Medici Effect



A few years ago I read a book by Frans Johansson called, "The Medici Effect: What You Can Learn From Elephants and Epidemics."  Johansson talks about pursuing the creativity found at the intersection of two seemingly disparate fields.  For example, what happens if you intentionally intersect CrossFit and Disciple Making?  Pursuing that intersection causes me to ask some questions:

  • What can CrossFit teach you about disciple making?
  • What can making disciples teach you about CrossFit?
  • What passages in the Bible illuminate principles of CrossFit?
  • What aspects of CrossFit illuminate passages in the Bible?

Lately, I've been working on a project called, 'The 90 Day Disciple Making Challenge.'  The project is going well and I'm totally pumped to start some beta tests this weekend.  Yesterday, as I was going though Facebook, an article on CrossFit caught my eye.  I read it, and ended up reading another.  The second article caused mini explosions of creativity in my brain.  The article is called, "Programming WODs Is Hard(er than doing them!)" and is written by Alyssa Royse.  In this article, Royse talks about the process of programming the infamous CrossFit WODs for her box.  She outlines several principles that go into her programming.  BAM!  All the sudden I realized I needed to write out some principles to govern the development of the '90 Day Disciple Making Challenge.'  I had intuitively followed some, but Royse's post challenged me to up my game by being a lot more deliberate.  At the Medici intersection of a Disciple Making Project and a CrossFit blog post, my creativity increased and my project is going to be better.

I never really know when an intersection like that is going to happen, but there is one thing I do to actively pursue it:

Immerse yourself in stuff that really has nothing to do with your primary interest, vocation, or current project.

I rarely read Christian books, particularly books on Disciple Making or Church Planting.  Instead, I read books on business, mind palaces, Navy SEALs, Green Berets, flow, super athletes, etc.  I read biographies and memoirs.  I watch documentaries.  I listen to podcasts by athletes, professional life coaches, and members of our armed forces.  If any of them suggest a book that sounds interesting, I read it.  I ask questions while immersing myself in all these things, forcing the intersection.  I'm a spiritual guy, so I ask God to show me things I might be missing.  When I do all of these, I force my thinking and planning into a Medici intersection of fields that often leads to incredible creativity and out-of-the-box ideas that leave my co-workers often wondering what is wrong with me.

When was the last time you read a book, listened to a podcast, pursued a hobby, or watched a documentary that had nothing to do with your vocation or your current project?

(This morning I listened to this podcast.  Amazing!  Neat ideas on short feedback cycles. Totally started me thinking about the connection between shorter feedback cycles, coaching, and working with Urban Disciple Making Teams.  I'm going to listen to it again on my way into work.)

photo by Thomas Leth-Olsen