"Adopt, adapt, improve" say Rotarians. So do Christians. A living Church always changes. "In some other world it may be otherwise, but here below to live is to change and to have lived long is to have changed often." (Cardinal Newman, 1845) So tradition isn't setting things in stone. It's a living stream of constant innovation, emerging as it's lived, and passed on in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Is innovating always good? How? A few years ago Jim Collins and Gerry Porras researched the difference between good and truly great companies. In the current Harvard Business Review, Christian Stadler has done the same for good vs. great European engineering, commercial, technological, and pharmaceutical businesses. He's pinpointed the differences that single out the truly great long term gold medal winners from their silver medal rivals, and found four habits that seem to go with long term greatness:
- Exploit what you've got first — If you can't make anything of the things you know and understand, you aren't likely to make much of the things you don't
- Diversify your portfolio — keep your supplier / customer base as broad as you can
- Remember your mistakes — retell the stories of failures so you don't repeat them
- Be conservative and very selective about change — and very careful about planning and implementing change because how you do it matters as much as what you do