Why Baby Boomers are the innovators of the future


It’s time for a new picture.

Think “innovative startup” and the picture of an entrepreneur under 30 generally comes to mind — someone ready to feed new products to the coveted 18-to-34 demographic.

Baby Boomers are starting companies at a faster pace than ever before, according to a March report by the Kauffman Foundation and younger workers lack the disposable income and job prospects they once had. This means we may be witnessing a passing of the innovation baton to members of the older generation. As older Americans begin to define the debate around innovation, then the generation gap will soon make its presence felt in innovation hubs like Silicon Valley.

The 18-to-34 demographic, of course, was largely the creation of the previous mass media era, offering an easy heuristic for understanding the consumption habits of the youngest generation. If, as venture capitalist Vinod Khosla once suggested, people stop trying new things after age 30, the 18-to-34 demographic was always the sweet spot of the market for new innovations.

But not anymore. As Matt Miller writes, America’s youth is struggling.

Meanwhile, the 55-to-64 demographic now boasts the highest rate of entrepreneurship in America, while – surprise! – the lowest rate of entrepreneurship actually belongs to the 20-to-34 demographic. That’s not all. The fastest rate of social media adoption now also belongs to the Baby Boomers and seniors, according to 2010 data from eMarketer. While there are still more Millennials than Baby Boomers who are active on social media, Facebook has become the type of place where your grandparents might hang out, with 47 percent of all Boomers now maintaining a social media presence.

Read more . . .

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via The Washington Post – Dominic Basulto

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