The AGE of collaboration

Posted by Janice Scheckter on 09 November 2016 6:55 PM CAT

Now don’t get confused! The AGE of collaboration is quite different to the Collaborative ERA. The AGE of collaboration is my of assessment of the concept of age within the collaborative space, while the ERA is … well, it’s now. 



The standard image around innovation includes the young creator and the older Venture Capitalist or angel funder. The youthful new business idea is expected to come from a Brian Chesky, who co-founded Airbnb at the age of 27, or a Mark Zuckerberg, just 20 when he started Facebook.

A study done across a group of US CEOs and Nobel prize laureates found that the innovation age was best between 30 and 40.

What is interesting is that the average age of Nobel Prize-winning work and technical innovation has increased by nearly a decade since the beginning of the 20th century. In 1900, it was around age 30; by 2000 it was nearly 40. That effect is even more pronounced in the natural sciences. The average age of Nobel Prize winning work in physics is now 48.

So if that is my preamble, let me get to my point. My concept of the AGE of collaboration is about combining the energy, optimistic views, youthful insights, fewer ‘why’ and ‘what if’ questions of youth together with the historic frames of reference, the understanding of the young Steve Jobs and the young Bill Gates and the hard-knocks experience of age. Then, I believe you have the perfect AGE of collaboration.

When VCs call for young innovators, encourage older collaborators to be a part of the team and vice versa. When teams in organisations need to collaborate for ideation, a range of age groups represented, along with other points of difference, will ensure healthy collaboration.

Collaboration benefits from points of difference. It doesn’t seek to persuade those with opposing views to fold, but rather to aggregate thinking and extract the optimal concept.

Janice Scheckter, no longer considered in the highly desirable club called YOUTH, is a collaboration activist and presenter of Collaboration Central.

Catch recent episodes of Collaboration Central

Collaboration and First Followers

Managing collaboration detractors








There is 1 comment



As a Carlos Santana fan, I love the way he is still collaborating with all ages of musicians whilst being well into his sixties! Thank you for the blog. BTW, as a fifty something year young bloke I am blessed to be doing some of the most exciting collaborations across multiple sectors with some amazing people.

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Mark Greeff

2 years ago

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