Radical Innovators: Age is Just a Number
Radical innovators are ageless. People often think that being young is the key to innovation in starting a business. But real-life shows that age does not limit creativity or entrepreneurial spirit.
In an age of fast food and instant gratification, there’s a growing wave of entrepreneurs who have discovered their radical purpose later in life by focusing on health and wellbeing.
- Julie Wainwright, at 55, founded The RealReal, a secondhand luxury goods platform.Her new company Ahara joins a growing field of digital nutrition startups and appears to be a less resource-intensive venture compared to The RealReal.
- Chip Conley founded Joie de Vivre Hospitality and joined Airbnb at 52, where he became a guiding “modern elder.” In 2018, he co-founded Modern Elder Academy, a school dedicated to helping people navigate midlife with purpose.
- Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods was founded by Bob Moore at the age of 49 inspired by his wife Charlee. Their commitment to whole grains and natural food has turned the company into a trusted name for healthy eating.
A recent study looked at nearly 3,000 new business founders in Germany from 2008 to 2017. The results were encouraging: Older entrepreneurs (50 and above) were more likely to bring fresh, new ideas to the market. For example, for every 10 more years of age, a founder’s chance to introduce a market novelty goes up by 30%.
These fresh ideas mean business. Ten extra years of age can add 35,000 euros more sales from innovations each year. That’s 26% more than the average.
Unlocking Radical Innovators
Older entrepreneurs bring experience, personal wealth, and the ability to hire educated employees. These factors make them more likely to develop truly innovative products or services.
So, can we break the myth that only young people can be entrepreneurs? Encouraging people to play longer and supporting transitions into entrepreneurship opens doors for exciting innovations.
There is so much potential in older workers. By nurturing the creativity and wide skills of older employees, we fuel new ideas and change the game.
Age brings wisdom, creativity, and the ability to break new ground in business. As the world’s population grows older, recognizing the potential of older entrepreneurs is foundational for a healthy and thriving economy.
Research shows over-50s are radical innovators. Imagine what happens when we connect based on purpose regardless of age and create healthy work environments that flourish.