In this Innovation Age the typical innovator as depicted by popular culture is a young “Zuckerberg-”type working in a dorm room to develop the latest and greatest. Reality tells us these situations are the exception not the rule.
According to this NY Times article innovators improve with age and hiring just the younger set sharply reduces an organization’s innovation potential.
Consider the Facts:
- The directors of the five top-grossing films of 2012 are all in their 40s or 50s
- Two of the biggest-selling authors of fiction for 2012 are Suzanne Collins and E. L. James, both around age 50
- Research performed by Benjamin Jones of Northwestern University, a 55-year-old and even a 65-year-old have significantly more innovation potential than a 25-year-old
Also, David Epstein found while researching and writing The Sports Gene that a lot of the limitations placed on older learners and older athletes were not backed by research. Fact is; the older less flexible brain is more efficient. Experience and efficiency of the brain make up for some of the lost horsepower due to the aging process.
Be careful what you fall for at any age!