Innovation Never Sleeps

By Paolo Barbesino, PhD

Innovation Never Sleeps

As an innovation expert, I once had a conversation with a Human Resources professional about the typical profile considered for innovation roles in his organization. Amazon has established a unique approach to identifying top innovation talent through its ‘bar raiser’, which removes bias from the hiring process and screens candidates with strong hard skills against the psychological traits of a ‘builder’. This is because: ’Amazonians are builders’.

However, what caught my attention was when the HR professional stated that only professionals in their thirties can innovate. I couldn’t figure out if he said so out of the belief that people above this age are usually too busy with office politics or making a career and have lost interest in making a dent in the world. Unfortunately, we didn’t discuss his opinion on how gender and ethnicity influence innovation prowess.

As an expert in innovation, I couldn’t help but wonder if this was an accurate assumption. Does the ability to innovate correlate with age? And if so, what will happen to innovation as the global population continues to age? While it’s true that younger generations may have a different perspective and approach to innovation, I firmly believe that age should not be a determining factor when it comes to innovation potential.

Instead, we should focus on identifying individuals with the right mindset, skills, and experience to drive innovation, regardless of their age. Furthermore, we cannot ignore the impact of gender and ethnicity on innovation prowess. It’s imperative that we create inclusive and diverse innovation teams to encourage different perspectives and ideas that can drive innovation forward.

As we move towards a future where the global population continues to age, it’s essential to recognize that innovation is not limited to a specific age group. Instead, it’s about creating an environment that fosters creativity, collaboration, and encourages risk-taking.

In my opinion, the ability to innovate is not bound by age but rather by mindset. An innovative mindset is characterized by curiosity, a willingness to take risks, a desire to learn, and the ability to think outside the box. These traits can be found in individuals of all ages, from fresh graduates to seasoned professionals.

In conclusion, we need to re-evaluate our assumptions about the relationship between age and innovation potential. It’s not about the number of years someone has lived but the mindset and skills they bring to the table. Let’s create a culture that values diverse perspectives and encourages innovation at all levels. By doing so, we can ensure that innovation remains a driving force for progress and growth in organizations and society as a whole.