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The power of youth in our business innovation

Cathy Winston on Feb 6th 2018
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The decade of diversity is up next, are you ready?

The marketplace is crowded with competition, and being diverse and innovative is what makes you stand out. How diverse is your business in terms of age, skills, cultures and gender? Do you include all of these groups in the conversation or is that still happening with just the seasoned suits?

As a person in my mature years, I have gained a lot of wisdom and experience in business, however I have a completely different perspective and outlook than my two sons aged 24 and 27.

My work in lecturing to graduates has brought me into the most wonderful world of optimism, energy, curiosity, & ideas, nonetheless most businesses fail to utilise these competitive skills.

Look outside your own business and see what Gen Y & X are achieving. The Web Summit for example is a mind-blowingly ambitious event, designed and run by young, bright and driven Irish people. Web summit co-founder and media genuius Daire Hickey (29) has recently been named by Forbes magazine as one of it’s international Top 30 Under 30 business stars, a list of the world’s most powerful young people under the 30 threshold. (McCabe, Januaray 2018, The Irish Times).  The BT young scientist of the year fair showcases talent from ages 12-19, with this year’s winner 15 year old Simon Meehan winning with his project that led to the discovery of a potential new antibiotic capable of beating antimicrobial resistant bacteria including MRSA (January 2018, RTE News).

This age group have benefitted from a different education system, designed to give confidence and ambition, with the aid of technology and open minds.

Many organisations treat these generations like mushrooms, keep them in the dark and shovel fertilizer on them! However these young bright minds need to be nourished and valued as they are an important link to our innovation process and are connecting us to the real world of today. These new innovative minds keep the company young & energetic, they solve problems creatively, break down barriers, whilst opening up new ways to develop and seize opportunities.

Although we may not agree with their ideas all of the time, we cannot doubt their ability to break through the norm with their originality.

Today I urge you to create a forum to include them and their ideas.

Set aside an hour ideas session per week. Use the Café Conversation format here to facilitate open conversations and welcomed ideas. For more information please email: Cathy Winston

Cathy Winston.


McCabe, Sarah (January 24th 2018).Web Summit co-founder Daire Hickey chosen by ‘Forbes’ as one of the world’s top business stars under 30. The

RTE News (January 13th 2018). Cork teenager scoops top prize at BT Young Scientist Fair. RTE

Written by Cathy Winston.

Edited by Lisa Downey.

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