Our Guiding Compass


This morning in ID we had a great (though we were notified very last minute…) opportunity!!!! The Disney Cohort went on our first outing of the year to North Point Church. If you haven’t been to North Point Church then you are probably imagining a traditional church with pews and stain glass and some large cross hanging somewhere, but North Point is nothing like that. North Point is very open and modern looking in fact.

I happen to go to Buckhead Church which is an expansion of North Point, so the environment was actually quite natural for me. However, some of my cohort members that had never been to North Point were just shocked that it was a church. They thought it looked more like a school or a conference building by looking at the architecture and design of the rooms.

We walked into a big open area with large glass windows and comfy seating. Some of the first things you see are guest services stations and their book store called Connections. As we explored further into the church we discovered large auditoriums with soft chairs that can also be removed to create large open spaces for special events. There was also a very obvious difference between spaces that were meant for different ages. The area for babies and preschoolers had colorful walls and large objects that made the area look like a great jungle, while the kindergarden to 5th grade area was designed like a city with a big main street and lots of signs. Then the middle and high school area had another large auditorium, but with coaches, round tables, and book shelfs in the room in addition to the stage (which by the way, is set up for a huge rock show accompanied by a ton of cool lights). Every one of the areas had a fun, safe, and inviting feel to it that you could easily imagine children getting excited for and parents being trusting to leave their children there. This was pretty cool for us to observe and hear about because it showed how much the organization valued each of their users.

We later heard from a few staff members about the church’s mission and it was amazing to see how quickly they could each recite it and make you understand exactly why they enjoyed working there. We were then quickly able to connect the observations we made before talking to them to their mission statement, which is “to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ by creating environments where people are encouraged and equipped to pursue intimacy with God, community with insiders, and influence with outsiders.”

Every choice that went into the creation of this church directly related to their mission, and being able to hear a group of staff members talk so passionately about their work and their mission really resinated with me. As a cohort we came to a valuable realization:

While there is a mission statement for the Innovation Diploma, it was created long ago by our mentors when they started the program, but I can guaranteed not a single student in ID could recite it to you. If we don’t know the mission, then it’s almost the same as saying that we do not have a clear, shared mission statement that connects us together as the startup we claim to be. We need one.

We need a mission statement to be our guiding compass that can always help us find north even when we feel like we’re in the middle of no where. So that in those moments when someone get’s in a rough spot in a venture and needs feedback, we can remind them of our mission as a way to steer people back in the right direction. Further than that, it also makes it much easier for us to clearly and concisely share our story. What is Innovation Diploma? Why did you want to join this cohort? What is the purpose? -These are questions that I believe we all are frequently asked, and while we have been answering them, I can only imagine how much more impactful it would be if we had a single mission statement to share that everyone agreed upon that really shared our true meaning and purpose.

This work even reminded us of our coventure to redesign our studio space. While our space has definitely gone through a transformation, we all agree that it definitely isn’t done yet. After having this conversation with the North Point workers, we realized that maybe the room isn’t done because we never had a solid mission statement to guide the work we were doing. Which also brought us to the conclusion that perhaps once we create a mission statement it will  be easier to go back and work further on our studio space so that the environment reflects the mission.

Eventually we did come back to school since we had other classes still today. When we arrived back we debriefed some by sharing out some of the “We exists…” statements that we brainstormed on the ride back. We did this activity to get us thinking more about our purpose and “why are we in ID?” before we then try to make a mission statement because that answers the question of “what do we want to do?” After this debrief we all agreed that creating a mission statement is an urgent and significant task that we need to get done, and now we are at the point of trying to figure out how to quickly but still thoughtfully and productively accomplish this great task.

I’m excited for the future and really pleased that the Disney Cohort had this discovery today.

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