Innovation At Any Age

While the archetypal innovator may be young and ambitious, new research has found that older and more experienced employees have higher success rates with innovative start-ups.  A Kauffman Foundation study, The Coming Entrepreneurial Boom, shows that Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 have higher rates of successful entrepreneurial activity than those aged 20 to 34.  According to Newsweek, this success can be attributed to their  “accumulated expertise” and extensive knowledge of consumers’ needs.

Moreover, the more experienced innovators are not solely the purview of the business world either.  In a paper published by the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, Benjamin F. Jones argued that breakthroughs in research are being made by innovators at an older age than they were a century ago.  The phenomenon has also been witnessed in the academic world as well.  Regardless of where cross-generational innovation comes from, in our increasingly globalized economy the ability to successfully innovative is becoming ever more essential.

Posted by: Wesley Milillo

Sources: Inside Higher Ed, The Kauffman Foundation, Kellogg School of Management, Newsweek

Photo credit: Four Towers Business Area (CTBA) – Madrid courtesy of flickr user Guillermo Fdez


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