Saturday, April 21, 2012

Boomers: Which Kind of Genius are You?

Social entrepreneur Marc Freedman, writing for Harvard Business Review, cites the research of economist David Galenson, who by studying painters concluded there are two kinds of geniuses.
Conceptual geniuses do their best work before the age of 30. These "finders" produce breakthroughs early in their careers, then peter out.
Experimental geniuses peak later in life. These "seekers" need decades of trial and error to accumulate the ideas and techniques that mark their signature work.
Freedman thinks Galenson's research is good news for entrepreneurial-spirited Baby Boomers.
"One in four Americans between the ages of 44 and 70—about 25 million people—are interested in starting their own businesses or nonprofit organizations in the next five to 10 years," Freedman writes.
Provided they didn't peak in their 20s, these 25 million Boomers stand to succeed in launching new ventures, because they bring decades of experimentation to the task.
Half of these aging entrepreneurs also want to "give back" through their new businesses.
"Research shows that half of those who want to become midlife entrepreneurs—more than 12 million people ages 44 to 70—also want to meet community needs or solve a critical social problem at the same time," Freedman writes.
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