Don't obsesses with youth, ideas can flourish at any age
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Don't obsesses with youth, ideas can flourish at any age

In recent years there has been a focus on millennials and the impact they will have as consumers, but also as members of the organisation. Understanding this demographic is vitally important.  However, there is a grave danger that organisations are developing a tunnel vision of focus on millennials and failing to realise there is a great deal that can be learnt from those halfway between youth and the autumn of their careers. 

Let us start with the positives. Reverse mentoring is a welcome sign that old top down management styles are disappearing from corporate culture. Analyst house The Leading Edge Forum coined the term Outside-in perspectives way back in 2012, focusing on allowing more influences from beyond your enterprise into the business. 

Discussions about millennials in the CIO and CTO forums I am involved with often debate the very different working patterns of millennials. The highly collaborative methods they prefer have transformed the working environment in financial services, retail, public sector and many more. 

In recent years the technology world has adopted the mantra of learning fast and failing fast.  Experience, when coupled with learning and failing fast is even more powerful for organisations.  Experienced personnel can help an organisation leapfrog a whole set of mistakes and get working on some real innovations. There are specialist agencies out there that can get entire organisations to rethink their markets and surface new ideas. Also, internal hackathons or the Firebreak method used in the public sector, which I have detailed for IDG Connect before, give voice to the entire workforce, not just the young new recruits.

At the hackathons and Firebreak events I have been involved in, there is an energy to make a difference. Teams come together to scratch an itch that has been annoying customers or slowing down processes for far too long. This is an advantage born of experience. Good ideas based on experience are more often going to lead to success. 

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Mark Chillingworth

Mark Chillingworth is a CIO and CTO journalist, ghost writer, moderator and advisor with over 11 years experience. From 2010 to 2016 he was Editor in Chief of the award-winning CIO UK. In 2011 he created the CIO 100, an annual transformation power list of the UK’s most influential CIOs and launched the UK’s first CIO Podcast in 2016.

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