Do procrastinators make good innovators? At first glance, the procrastinator may not be well-suited to a structured innovation effort which requires consistent, dedicated efforts to develop a new process or technology to meet a market need. The procrastinator may engage in bursts of activity from time to time but then may also disengage to focus on other endeavors, while a competitor with a more structured approach to work would continue to follow a repeatable process, working through each failure to refine his or her innovation.
Conversely, the procrastinator may, in the course or delaying work to concentrate on another topic of interest, stumble across an insight that propels the innovation forward, leapfrogging ahead of the more step-by-step approach of another practitioner. In the article “How to Be a Better Procrastinator,” Stanford Professor John Perry offers support for the latter scenario, noting that procrastinators “are people who not only get a lot done but have a reputation for getting a lot done.” Perry presents several observations about procrastinators that resonate with those of us who spend a lot of time thinking about different approaches to innovation.
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