Creativity Precedes Innovation: Where Do We Go From Here?

If creativity truly precedes innovation, then it’s worth asking “Where is creative energy being invested today?” as a way to predict where the next innovation could emerge.

Here are three brief highlights to provide insight into where creative energy is being focused right now at Winebrenner:

Bachelor Equivalency

In our ongoing efforts to reach the 36+ million within the United States who have a partially completed bachelor’s degree, we are preparing to offer a course this summer that can both serve as an academic learning environment as well as an impetus for the student to create a portfolio toward bachelor equivalency.  While offering the course is, in some ways, an innovation, it is part of a larger creative conversation about what’s possible within the framework of bachelor equivalency.  You can contact Amy Kinney at kinney@winebrenner.edu to learn more about enrolling in the course.  What we learn from this course will serve us well as we figure out next steps in this journey.

Offering Seminary Courses to High School Students

I’ve received several emails over the past few months about Winebrenner’s ability to offer seminary courses to high school students through some form of dual enrollment. I’ve spoken with two undergraduate educational partners so far (and have a conversation planned next week for a third) to figure out how Winebrenner can develop these relationships. Winebrenner is accredited to offer graduate level theological education, but through our non-degree/non-accredited program (Institute for Christian Studies), we have some creative options to move forward in this area either online or on site.

Third Revenue Stream

The overwhelming majority of revenue for Winebrenner is generated through either donations from individuals and churches or through tuition dollars from students or scholarships. At least 15 years ago, Winebrenner Seminary began to seriously explore developing a third revenue stream.  Those initial conversations resulted in the Scotland Campus project, a ministry that continues but no longer is under Winebrenner’s leadership. The desire and need to develop additional revenue streams continues to grow. Winebrenner’s Board and leadership has learned a great deal as a result of past experiences and we’re beginning to explore what options exist moving forward.

Occasionally in sports you’ll hear the phrase “luck favors the prepared.” When I hear that, I think that today’s innovation is yesterday’s creative conversation. Winebrenner’s ability to respond to the COVID-19 crisis with even more online courses, without major disruption, is the direct result of conversations, plans, and decisions from years ago. When the conversation about online and distance education at Winebrenner first emerged, to some it seemed too creative and far-fetched. Yesterday’s creative conversation is today’s innovation. And today’s innovation is something we’ll take for granted as a “given” tomorrow.

As I wrap up this series, Creativity Precedes Innovation, I’m encouraged to see new opportunities for creativity in our current circumstance. We pray that God will give us the wisdom to discern where our energy should be invested and the courage to act once we see more clearly.

Dr. Brent Sleasman, President

Image by Yeshi Kangrang, accessed via Adobe Spark