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Are you a procrastinator?

First things first, because although I had heard of the word “procrastinator”, I didn’t know the real meaning either. I can’t explain it any better (and above all, funnier) than this:

Funny, isn’t it? And a life lesson at the same time.

Now, I have been thinking about writing a blog about “How to monetize on creativity” for a while now. And no, I wasn’t procrastinating… When I started blogging, I found out that the hardest part was finding new things to write about. So since then, I have a section in my OneNote called “Blog Ideas” (yes, not one of my most creative moments, coming up with the name…).

Anyway, I tend to think that I am pretty creative as a person, and that I run an innovating company, in which we nurture creativity. During my 27-year work life, we have introduced a lot of new, refreshing, and, yes, sometimes groundbreaking, ideas, designs and products.

Everywhere you looked the last 20 years, it seemed that innovation was the only way to survive as a company. It even got more intense in the last 5 to 10 years …With globalization and internet came the new mantra: Not only innovation could save us, but disruption! Don’t think about tomorrow, think about the day after tomorrow (right, @Peter Hinssen?). We all saw what happened to Nokia. One day you are on top of the world, next you know, you are out of business. Speaking of a  wake-up call, right?

So this has been always on my mind, when thinking about the future and about strategy. Not only to be innovative, try to be disruptive. And be the first mover.

Now reality is hard:  we have always struggled to make money with new ideas, designs or products. A lot of it where straight-out failures. We were too early. Or too late. Or not good enough. Or too expensive.

I’m not saying that it never was a success, it certainly reshaped our company in many ways, but there were times that we would really ask ourselves … Are we on the right track? Because it was driving us crazy. Sometimes it drove us even out of cash.

Today at lunch I went running. And while I was listening to another great Podcast, something became clear to me…..first, take a look at this:

So Adam Grant is talking about the correlation between procrastinors, and original thinkers. About that sweet spot of not getting too close to the deadline, but also about not starting too early.

But the biggest lesson to me: you don’t have to be first to be disruptive. You just have to be better. You will never be too early, because per definition, you are at least second. You will never be too expensive, because you will know the amount of money that people are willing to spend on it. You will never be “not good enough”, because you will know exactly what is being expected from the market.

So, to monetize on creativity or innovation, my advice from now on is: be patient…because sometimes being second is the smart thing to do!

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