Keith R Szewczyk

Generation X View on Innovation

In Generation X Leadership on March 6, 2011 at 9:14 pm

by: Keith R. Szewczyk

Innovation is a term that is often overused and sometimes even incorrectly used in the business environment today. Some companies add innovation to their values, with the significance built around developing a culture of continuous idea generation towards their products and services, which aims to grow the company’s business value to the market. However, I believe innovation goes even deeper.

Innovation is an activity or cultural behavior that naturally bridges the generation gaps. It literally has almost zero bias on generational behaviors, and in most cases the cross federalization of generations during idea development stretches the ability to create great outcomes for the company. Existing knowledge, new ways of thinking, market research in multiple forms, and technology advancements all create the basis for an idea melting pot.

Products and services are not the only benefit from innovation. Process improvements, automated tools, communications efficiencies, and social media data are also not the only benefit from innovation. A hidden value of innovation is the process of team work, which provides a vehicle to overcome the generational gaps. This allows the diverse employee base to leverage each other’s strengths to create a tighter culture of sharing and communicating.

This unique environment of Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y workforce allows us to enjoy a special moment in history, where multiple levels of experiences maximize our gains. These gains are both professionally and personally. For example, Gen Y resources may provide a rich set of real time data that they collected over the internet. This may provide them information to add to the team’s analysis of the innovation and may allow them to overcome their inexperience. Baby Boomers may bring the stability, and the experience of success and failures within the industry, which allows the team to manage risk. At the end of the day people are changing and new opportunities and challenges are being created.

I like to write about the generational gaps because I truly believe that the value of understanding each generation creates deep insight to how we need to adjust to be successful as leaders. I also believe that these experiences enhance our personal life as well. Innovation is one of those subtle ways of transcending the generational gaps, and may continue to add to the insight of how to leverage our great diverse workforce that we lead today.

Are there other natural generational gap closure methods within our work environment today? Please share with us…

  1. Interesting! Even to us old folks!

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