Developing the Next Generation of Innovators


In the current ever-changing business world a lot of new entrepreneurs appear out of thin air, yet the economy cannot seem to be jumpstarted. Have you ever considered how the next generation of innovators is going to be developed? Hopefully, not in the same way past generations have been developed. And the best way to do this is by stopping treating every up-and-coming entrepreneur the same way.

If we cannot manage to develop the next generation of innovators properly, what assurance is there that we are approaching the economy jumpstart the wrong way? Here’s why our brightest and best innovators must receive special consideration:

Have you ever heard of Joseph Schumpeter? He was an eccentric Austrian economist who taught at Harvard in the 1930s and 1940s. However, for people that closely study the financial and strategic dynamics of innovation, Schumpeter is considered much more influential than some of his peers such as Keynes or Friedman.

Schumpeter is credited for turning the entrepreneur into an engine of growth that helps the economy. Since then, other Nobel Laureates have suggested that in some respect, but he was actually right.

The economist’s most controversial and famous statement  can be found is his classic Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy. In the book he notes that as capitalism advances, it becomes more and more efficient and looks for better and cheaper methods of getting the work done even if this means replacing the jobs with machines or even sending them abroad.

In layman’s terms, corporations use innovation to create more with less. However, he states that capitalism is not sustainable because, in a democratic society, the vast majority is in favor of creating a planned economy, where wealth is divided equitably by the state.

Just take a closer look at today’s European economy as a whole and you’ll understand what Schumpeter foresaw almost 8 decades ago. Although he was not a supporter of socialism, the Austrian warned that democracy taken too far will mean the end of meritocracy, the place where the brightest minds advance by means of innovation, resourcefulness and personal initiative – all essential traits an entrepreneur should possess. Actually, he has a rather Darwinist view of innovation where only the most capable individuals are able to excel.

So what if we approached the economy jumpstart all wrong? I’m not referencing to any political party, so that’s out of the way. Actually, I was referring to the modest sensibilities of individuals: people believe that offering special consideration to the brightest up-and-coming minds is an elitist and wrong approach.

And while most parents consider their children to be the brightest, they certainly do not treat them as such. Thus, they prefer to leave to an environment where they are not treated like everyone else, but rather considered special.

Here’s a suggestion for you: Invite yesterday’s brightest minds and ask them to find 10 students from today’s top institutions of higher learning where talent and perseverance are recognized and rewarded.

Moreover, training that specializes on innovation and 1-on-1 mentoring with entrepreneurs and special innovation training are also great ways of helping the up-and-coming entrepreneurs develop into outstanding innovators. And while all this is great and all, consider taking the time and asking them what they require to succeed and doing your best to offer it to them. And don’t forget about making them feel special.

With time and a little bit of luck, you will be able to gain momentum and start re-establishing the creative culture while also becoming more inclusive. No one says this is the right way to approach this issue, but maybe, by doing this, the next great generation of innovators will find a way to prove Schumpeter wrong and also maintain a balance between meritocracy and democracy in the good old U.S. of A.

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