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Time is a Tool of Creativity

Like many, I was raised on the Benjamin Franklin adage that “Time is Money.” In his 1748 essay on Advice to a Young Tradesman, Franklin warned of throwing away opportunity on “Diversion or Idleness.” So, early in my career when I was a rookie market researcher, I pushed myself to work as many hours as I could log in a week. More time on the job equaled more projects completed, more client experience, and a swifter climb up the organizational ladder.

That was until an investment banking client questioned the ingenuity of a highly-complex analysis that required many pots of coffee, based on the observation that the bags under my eyes indicated that I was likely coming into the office in the morning pondering the same thoughts that I was thinking when I left the night before.

No Idleness. Check. No Diversions. Check. Yet, how much value exactly was I bringing to my client when I was not taking the time to find and articulate some hidden nugget or a lurking risk? Novel thinking was falling victim to expediency. From that day forth, “time is a tool creativity” would be my mantra. A hike. A visit to an art museum. Lunch with a colleague from an adjacent industry. Time to feed the sources of creativity. Everything on the table. Weaving. Abstracting. Understanding the flows.

In Respect the Weeds, we opine that creativity is not just an act of pure imagination or intuition. In the context of digital transformation, creativity is rooted in an informed, knowledgeable, expression of the customers’ psyche—thoroughly researched, analyzed, and pondered. Which takes time.

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