New Ideas, New Work

Recently, while perusing Forbes Magazine’s list of the top 30 Under 30 people in 15 different industries, I was struck by how many of them were listed as “founder” of a company. In industries such as Media, Technology, Energy and Industry, Food and Drink, Education, and Social Entrepreneurship, forbes more than half the individuals held this title. In Sports, Music, Hollywood Entertainment, Art and Style, independent individual contributors comprised the majority of the list.

Many in this millennial group of 30 Under 30 have rejected the traditional notion of graduating from college and finding jobs. Instead they have used the campus environment to facilitate networking to create their own jobs. They have avoided the conventional corporate environments in favor of unconventional workspaces and work relationships, like living and working in the same space to increase productivity and connectivity. They have pushed back on the established methodologies of getting things done, and created new pathways to purchase art online and process financial transactions. dani-info

Their advantage obviously is that they aren’t entrenched in a “this is how you do it” mindset. Their educational process and developmental upbringing likely placed greater emphasis on creativity instead of conformity. Research shows that millennials as a group, are less interested in considering a career in business. According to an article by Shama Kabani in the December 2013 issue of Forbes, meilleurscasino millennials are projected to comprise the majority of the workforce by 2025, however data from Bentley University’s study on the preparedness of college students to move into the workplace shows that:


  • 6 in 10 students say they are NOT considering a career in business, and 48% said they have NOT been encouraged to do so.
  • 59% of business decision makers and 62% of higher education influentials give recent college graduates a C grade or lower for preparedness in their first jobs.
  • 68% of corporate recruiters say that it is difficult for their organizations to manage millennials.
  • 74% of non millennials agree that millennials offer different skills and work styles that add value to the workplace.
  • 74% agree that businesses must partner with colleges and universities to provide business curriculums that properly prepare students for the workforce.


This data, and the accomplishments of the 30 Under 30 speak loudly about how current organizations must adapt to and embrace the future generation both as employees and as customers, to be able to leverage their ideas and intellect to solve problems, and effectively compete in the marketplace.

A New Model

Many companies still operate based on the old model of experience taking priority over innovation at the individual employee level. Employees with greater technical, policy or process knowledge, and therefore experience in a particular area, teach the younger people how the organization works. Such companies may externally broadcast their innovative products and methodologies, but internally they muffle creativity at the expense of familiarity. Instead they need to place innovation and creativity of the culture and work style on par with their innovative products and services. Those who fail to adapt and become more flexible will pay the price of failing to keep pace with the speed of technology and change.

A glaring example of this is Eastman Kodak, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection two years ago in January 2012, after more than a decade of falling sales and stock prices. Kodak, a name long synonymous with photography, didn’t go bankrupt because people stopped taking pictures, but because they couldn’t adapt to the new way pictures were being taken. People started using their smart phones to capture, send and store pictures electronically, instead of solely using traditional cameras and hard copy prints. Twenty months later, Kodak has emerged from their restructuring transformed into a technology company focused on imaging for business, in a way that will hopefully produce better corporate results.

Preparing for the future

So what about these 30 Under 30? Instead of just talking about new ways of doing things, they take new ideas and develop them into marketable strategies, trends and entrepreneurial ventures.

For example, Carter Cleveland (#1 in the Art and Style category) founded Artsy as a student at Princeton when he realized that there was no quick and easy way online to find art for his dorm room walls. His website now provides more than 85,000 works of art from 1,800 museums, galleries and foundations. Most of it is for sale and he also recommends artists to users. (This is an idea I’m sure I could have thought of, but would I have done anything about it?)


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