How can you innovate your children; you, the manipulated one?

Ever since the Rebel Jam, there is one question that keeps popping in my head. Is it really possible for present generations to really, but truly, innovate and influence change in the generations to come?I mean, you’re a corporate rebel now, you definitely believe in this movement, in the set of principles it stands upon, you are eager to bring positive change into your company, but, nevertheless you were a corporate for most of your working life. Maybe not the standard one, maybe you had rebel fire burning in your heart while others concentrated on reports, I don’t know, but still a corporate. What happens with all this baggage, with the life and work style you’ve been accustomed to for so long? In which corner of your mind can you hide all the ideas and rules you’ve been injected with over the years? Are you sure they don’t surface?

During the Rebel Jam, Eduardo Estellita has organized a poll, to determine which generations do corporate rebels belong to, based on their date of birth. And the results were as follows:

  • Traditionalist (before 1945) – 0%
  • Baby boomer (1946-1964) – 22%
  • Generation X (1965-1977) – 50%
  • Generation Y (1978-1998) – 22%
  • Generation C (after 1996) – 6%

As it seems, the majority has been in the working field for at least 15 years. 15 years of corporate teaching. Without any intension to say it in a pejorative way, you still need to ask yourself: how does this part of your career influence the corporate rebel you want to be? How much of it can you leave behind, how much is actually helping you in your quest and how much is actually holding you back? Maybe these are questions any rebel could ask himself. And most certainly the answers will vary. Of course you mean well, but how can you really influence new generations without the side-effect of your corporate baggage? How can you inspire innovation into the young, guarding them at the same time of the flock effect you are so familiar with from your years of baby booming?

I personally don’t have answers to all these questions, but maybe together, as rebels we can find a decent way to balance our corporate legacy with our new idea of things and our innovative intentions. But we do have to think about it with the upmost sincerity.

And because, as a member of generation Y, maybe I am not able to fully comprehend the phenomenon, I asked a baby boomer’s opinion. This is what he said: “You should take into consideration that the Y reps have baby-boomers parents and they have to witness how, outrageously, 22% semi-mummified and 50% expired in their forties have been forming the large majority here. How can you expect that these biological wrecks will contribute to the future of this movement and of this world, if they were not able to negotiate their own eternal youth?! Still, I believe in the slight chance that a person featuring ‘mature’ culture, while insignificantly biologically deprecated, can refine from her/his own past experience a rather accurate idea of the future trends, of this world’s evolution, possible pitfalls and even some advice on how, by all means, to avoid materialising Orwell’s 1984, which, by me, is mid Y’s checkpoint; that is if I am not wrong!

I’ll let the revolutionary Ys to continue elaborating, to just explain the relationship about practice proven technology, creativity as instrumental state of grace to disrupt status-quo, and what’s so outstanding about innovation – if indeed it is the borderless improvement everybody is preaching for today, from academicians to politicians, from manufacturers to researchers, from play-back gifted actors to original artists. Should the argument offend any generation, I’ll add sincere apologies to this text.”

What is so outstanding about innovation – even if creativity is the word that better describes what I appreciate in it – is that it does not come natural and it is not for granted. It is not like you get born, through a natural act of creation, and then through other natural processes, you get innovation starting to run through your veins. You have to look for it and discover for yourself what it involves; even if you have rebels as parents, their idea of innovative might not be the same as yours. You can’t get “innovated”, it’s out of the question, you might just get inspired.

Hoping that we can still be friends after this :), I renew my suggestion to deeply reflect on our true selves and true possibilities and, most of all, reflect on finding the most sincere way to put experience and maturity to good use.

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