After Christmas, my friends from Altran, Manuel, Teresa and LuisMi called me and told me that there was an opening in one of the conception workshops the International Commercialization Alliance (ICA) organizes. They know that I not only enjoy them but frequently I enrich them with contributions ‘from the other side of the mirror’, or with the verbalization of unusual mental itineraries.

During the icebreaking dynamics and climate setting, key points for a successful meeting, they asked:

“When was the last time you made something creative?”

The answers… the usual ones in a corporate environment.

“During the 90s, when I was studying in the university, I was in a theatre group” – or – “Two summers ago I helped my nephew assembling a kite…”

In summary: a long, long time ago, at least the ones who remember it.

“And you, Nacho?”

“Well, this weekend I designed a nautical chart about innovation.”

Luismi, who is very observant and is trained to distinguish innovating and disruptive contributions from bluffs, asked:

“Very interesting. Can you show us the chart?”

“Of course. Now? Or during the coffee break?… Let’s do it after the meeting. I don’t want to interrupt or delay it”

After the meeting, I showed them the already yellow cardboard covered with the smudged sketches.

“Look. Everything begins in Comfortalia, in Paradigm Town…” It was the second time that I told this story, after showing it to Matti in the VIPs a few weeks ago.

Luismi asked me: “Have you painted it? I didn’t know that side of you, but it doesn’t surprise me. Nacho…this is great. We have to talk.

Mario Tascón was also in the cafetería. I worked with him in a project called ‘Burravending’ for a few years. We explored several formats of innovation in the communication of infographics, new formats, visual storytelling. I think he is one of the guys who knows the most about Content Marketing and the online publisher world.

“Mario… Can I show you something? It will only be 10 minutes”

It was more than 10 minutes. And more than 20. The third time I told this story, it came into life. Every landshape gained a new dimension, a new relief. I added new islands on the borders of the chart or on the archipelagos. He looked at me, over the frame of his glasses, with an earnest expression, and with a low voice he said: “Nacho, this is a TED talk. Digitalize it.”

That was the first time I felt that my Christmas pastime could be something more. During the weekend, I painted the chart on a clean cartboard again and, listening to Mario, I took a photo of the chart with which I created a Prezi presentation. So, I could tell the story without depending on the already smudged cardboard.

During the following weeks and with an increasing confidence in the story, I showed the Prezi presentation on my iPad. Sometimes to acquaintances, sometimes to colleagues and quite often to people I had just met. In any case, the answer was the same.

“Very good idea; great view; it’s one of the best things I have seen for a long time; it’s brilliant; you have to showcase this; WOW; it’s amazing; take advantage of it.”

“Create a game, an application, a webpage, a course, a video…”

A surprise: the word of mouth began to spread, and several people approached me saying that a friend or someone else had told them about a map of innovation, about dragons who showed you how to innovate in a board game.

Yeah, take advantage of it…How? My work took me up 100%, 12 hours a day. I asked a few designers and video producers… and the audiovisual production…it would cost thousands of Euros. I didn’t have enough funds being the head of a large family, having only my financial support. Besides, at that moment, there was a feeling of uncertainty (Spain was on the edge of being rescued and there were intense – and ridiculous – rumours of an intervention, of frozen bank deposits and of the exit of the EU). There would be no way back. Matti Hemmi’s video ‘Do you dare to dream?’ was very succesful. But Matti told me: “Yeah, it is viral…but at home we don’t eat virus.”

Conclusion: I had the feeling, confirmed by a dozen of friends, that I had a good idea, a great concept with a big potential. How to monetize it? How to pass from an idea to a project and from there to a product? Which resources should I invest into this? Was it the moment to be entrepreneurial? ¿The moment to swim and to put away the clothes… or was it the moment to dive head first into the pool?