Breaking Down Generational Silos

May 18th, 2013

image1This post was co-authored by Angela Maiers,  founder of Choose2Matter, and originally appeared on The Huffington Post here.

Beware of random collisions with unusual suspects.

Unless, that is, you want to learn something new. In that case, seek out innovators from across every imaginable silo and listen, really listen, to their stories. New ideas, perspectives, and opportunities await in the gray areas between the unusual suspects.

It seems so obvious and yet we spend most of our time with the usual suspects in our respective silos. One of the most important silos we need to break down is the one between generations.

We keep youth off to the side while the adults talk and talk about how to improve the world. To youth, it is a lot of talk and little change. It’s ironic and sad that youth, with the biggest stake in the future, are so often seen and not heard. Think of all the areas where adults are monopolizing a conversation in which youth have the largest stake.

We should recognize that young people seek purpose and want to impact their surroundings. We should listen to and give them access to the tools they need to design the future they will inherit. Would they imagine a world they are more likely to engage in and commit to? What if we connected youth, our burgeoning innovators, with today’s most successful innovators?

Choose2Matter and the Business Innovation Factory (BIF) are doing exactly that.

Choose2Matter recently launched the Quest2Matter, which challenges students to accept that they matter and act to solve problems that break their heart. Imagine connecting these impassioned young leaders with today’s leading innovators and transformation artists.

The annual BIF Summit is the place for innovators across sectors and silos to be crazy, get inspired and collide with unexpected collaborators. During this year’s #BIF9 Summit from September 18-19, 2013, we will break down the generational silos and bring the Quest2Matter’s most inspiring young voices to join Angela on stage for one of the leading innovation conversations.

Let’s get started. Join us for #BIFQuest!

What we’ve learned from the Quest2Matter, so far, is that students are ready to stop talking and start doing. BIF is helping students get better faster by hosting an ongoing #BIFQuest tweetchat between students and BIF’s innovators to ask questions and share what works and what doesn’t.

Students! Ask specific, action-based questions (How do I do…? What have you done to…?) on Twitter to @TheBIF whenever you want. Just make sure to add #BIFQuest to your tweet.

BIF troublemakers! Let @TheBIF know if you would like to be a part of the #BIFQuest tweetchat and in what areas you think you could be most helpful and we will connect you with relevant questions.

Want to learn more?

Angela and I discuss the BIF/Choose2Matter partnership in this video.

And you can watch us along with several BIF community troublemakers including Robin Chase, Whitney Johnson, Deborah Mills-Scofield and Brian Cuban on a Huffpost Live “Tech Game Changers” segment which aired on Friday, May 17th.


One Response to “Breaking Down Generational Silos”

  1. Inter-generational collaboration is one of the toughest challenges for organizations interested in innovating. I’m reminded of how Ron Utterbeck, CIO for GE, responded to a final question in an interview with Robert Berkman regarding GE’s social business platform, Colab.

    Utterbeck noted that “one in three of the connections [across Colab] that we have on the site are across functions. One in four is across geographies, whether between North America and Asia, Europe, South America. And one in five is across our business units.”

    Following that observation regarding connections across GE’s social collaboration platform, Robert Berkman asked:

    “Finally, Ron, is there anything else that we didn’t ask that you think is important to mention?”

    Utterbeck replied —

    “Here’s what didn’t come up, but I think is vitally important: Outside of the workplace, I hang with my generation in Facebook. You hang with your generation. And my niece hangs with hers. And for the most part, that’s just fine and dandy.

    However, in a workplace we actually need those generations to interact. Not only do we need it, we encourage it. We want to foster it because that’s where people work together.”

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