Fantastic article today by Gijs van Wulfen – Innovation has nothing to do with age.
I speak with lots of people who admire innovators and their skills but lack the ‘risk’ gene (or current circumstances) to pull it off themselves. Alongside a healthy risk appetite, another key attribute for innovation is curiosity and that’s life long. It also helps to be defiant and persistent, other personality traits. Get the picture, it’s temperament, not days or lack of them that give us energy and an appetite for change.
I’ve recently built a software platform (and turned 60). It’s the culmination of my 30 years industry experience and is my ‘give back’ project. My experience isn’t 30 years old, it’s 30 years of experience. That gives me an advantage. I’ve partnered with a technologist which means we have rich subject matter expertise coupled with contemporary technology. It’s timing too. What I’m doing now would not have been possible before the world evolved to the cloud. Anyway, it’s a remarkable experience to be able to continue to do what you love. I’ve found that with age comes deeper insight, knowledge and confidence and I’m sure I’m not alone. If we’re looking for the role of mastery and experience in innovation and excellence, consider jazz musicians as a metaphor. They’re innovators and improvisors, more often than not, well schooled in the classics – years of it.
I believe there’s a strong future for deep subject matter expertise coupled with enabling technologies to create quality of life shifts that extend beyond technology that delivers cute little apps that let us order our lattes more efficiently or find a hire car around the corner. And yes, with life experience, comes perspective and opinions – also important to innovation.
Finally, even Eriksen, a father of life stage development theory, late on admitted he got it wrong. He conceded that he completely overlooked the huge developmental opportunities that await us post ‘adulthood’ in a period that is characterised by wisdom, reflection, liberation, energy and regeneration. Bring it on!
To play to your strengths and discover your motivators go to plando.com.