To quote my friend, Mike Gibbs, CEO and Co-Founder of Camp BizSmart, "today's young people were born with an iPhone in one hand and an iPod in the other. They have a natural instinct for the next new thing, and a very clear vision of what they want and need; like and don't like. Further these members of the Millennium generation not only have a drive for doing well, but also a heart for doing good. They will create the next generation of innovative, and socially conscious, double and triple bottom line companies that will have an impact well into the next century."
Hallelujah! Our children will save the world! Don't laugh. This is not sarcasm veiled as praise. This should come as a relief to those who feel that the world as we know it, with America as the global economic leader, is coming to an end. There is hope beyond the bailout. The current economic drama, most recently brought to life in last week's serial, "The Big 3 Go To Washington", reminds me that, in some ways, our country has become a BIG dysfunctional family!
The "children": individual consumers (with unwieldy amounts of credit card debt and homes furnished thanks to "buy now/pay later" interest free schemes), homeowners (with mortgages they never really could afford even before the subprime debacle), financial institutions, or auto makers, have all acted irresponsibly. Any good parent would tell their children to take personal responsibility for their actions, which should include living within their financial means. Now saddled with debt and fear of expulsion from their financial institutions, their mortgage companies, or their shareholders, the kids are turning - with no shame - to Mom & Dad, in the house and the senate, and asking for help. Mom & Dad, who cannot bear to see their flesh and blood suffer have come to the rescue. So - what lesson is this? Spend wildly, overextend yourself, exercise no discipline, and the future will take care of itself???
Since the parents are no longer setting the example, I - for one - am extremely grateful to the net generation. This generation of natural innovators, has embraced and continues to exploit innovations made possible as a result of the rate of change in the world of technology. As Don Tapscott illustrates in "Grown Up Digital", this is the first time ever that children are teaching their parents!
There is so much to be learned from the young, not the least of which is how they view the world, think and collaborate. Looking at the world through their eyes may make us all better innovators. At World Innovation Forum New York, attendees will have the opportunity to hear about the journey of six young Silicon Valley "teenpreneurs" and how they, while participating at Camp BizSmart last summer, developed a winning marketing plan for a beverage company named Wateroos. Check out this video to hear the elevator pitch from a Wateroos team member.