A recent Metromode article by Dennis Archambault, a Detroit-based freelance writer, cited the emergence of intergenerational entrepreneurship as a new trend in which “second career” entrepreneurs have begun to team up with younger partners to form start-ups. In the past, the relationship between an older worker and a younger worker was traditionally a hierarchical one in which the older worker trained the younger one. However, in some cases, that relationship has become a much more equal one in which the older worker’s life experiences and knowledge base and the younger worker’s technological savvy combine to create a dynamic workplace environment where each generation succeeds. Importantly, studies also have found that the experienced worker is often less risk averse than is his/her younger colleague. Being less risk averse allows one to explore new ideas and options, to take calculated risks, and to trust one’s instincts. Mixing old and new wisdom is good for business, too.
Intergenerational issues extend into the working world. By exposing our young children to older adults in strategic programs, we are able to create positive experiences that will lead them to be more open to collaborating with older workers once they launch their career.