Steven Levy asked, “… should companies strive for age diversity, even in a field as innovation-crazy as tech?”
“Yes” should have been an obvious answer to the question, and here I offer my rationale.
If nothing, the world is getting older. Age and elder people’s needs will sooner or later dominate much of the needs of the world we shall live in. Getting young agile people in the information technology business to figure out solutions is great and will continue to happen, but the natural design cycle will demand at some point that we have to have the more aged, the more experienced people in the mix. I’d not be surprised if the next generation of “Unicorns” turn out to be sixty-somethings building trailblazing products and services for a sector and age-adjusted demands that they know best. Thirty somethings may not have a clue.
And we have examples from other spheres of life. My eighty-year old neighbour in remote New Zealand is a wizard with genealogy and one time I was discussing with her my research on twins. The insights she had and what she shared were invaluable. What age did Grandma Moses being painting? Moraji Desai, one of India’s prime ministers started his first stint as arguably one of the most stressful of all jobs in the world at the ripe age of 81. Oh for the wisdom! Where will all this tacit knowledge going to be used?
I know I have digressed from the moot point of this article, but the issue of age diverstiy still begs the question: issues around the age diversity are different from the ethical/moral imperatives we associated with gender or ethnicity diversity in not just tech, but everywhere. Age divesity matters and will matter when we strive to build and create and move into a brave new world. Wait ten more years, :-)
More power to you, Mr Steven Levy. We may say we heard the first echoes of a brave new world here in Medium.