The ability to come up with brilliant new ideas tends to decline with age, but that’s no problem for people whose innovations aren’t dependent on brilliant ideas.
They’re innovators who are experimental, rather than conceptual. For them, aging isn’t such a handicap, since they typically improve with experience. But they do face a particular problem of their own:
People tend to forget that they exist.
Despite the examples of middle-aged and older experimental innovators from Henry Ford to Sam Walton, experimental innovators are often overlooked when thinkers theorize about innovation.
A recent example this pervasive forgetfulness is Janet Rae-Dupress’s piece “Innovative Minds Don’t Think Alike” that the New York Times published Dec. 30.