Last week I had the honour and privilege to be one of the judges for the Ideas Competition ay my old University. Because of the pandemic I had to judge from 6500 miles away, but by the miracle of Zoom the two-and-a-half-hour experience was as if we were all in the same room.
It was a real pleasure to spend time listening to the ideas of these young people and to realise that their ideas were not only realistic, but also incorporated real social issues. These were young people that understood the deeper concerns over the need to become millionaires.
There was the person that had ensured that their textile products were made from sustainable natural fabrics. There was another that had considered the reusable elements of their product together with an innovative use of AR.
There were ideas for encouraging young black women to reach higher in their aspirations, while at the other end of the age range there were possible ways of usefully employing older people.
There were ideas that wanted to impart knowledge to others and there were new ideas for entertaining people.
All the ideas had identified a real problem and had come up with real solutions that were innovative as well having a social element to their ideas.
None of these ideas came from the common misconception of students as protesting individuals sitting around with their electronic gadgets. Incidentally, I have never come across students like this!
These were people that were coming to the end of their year and were up against deadlines for dissertation submissions, exhibitions, and collections. Yet they found time to address these potential customer needs and to relay these well thought out solutions to the judges.
Throughout my many years working with SMEs, I have always found the young to be the most innovative, enthusiastic, and motivated entrepreneurs and it was a delight to see that nothing has changed.
Looking around the world today, the older members of society haven’t made an unqualified success of things. So let us stop dismissing the young and let them have a voice. They couldn’t make much more of a mess of things and they might have some ideas that would make them ideal partners.