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Craig Davis looks at what it takes to be creative and whether your age matters.

Craig Davis looks at what it takes to be creative and whether your age matters.

The t-shirt reads, “there’s no such thing as 40. I’m 21 with 19 years experience”. It got me thinking, are young people naturally more creative?

They say music, film, advertising, design… are young peoples’ games. They say it of Forex and IT too. And they say that the peak age for entrepreneurship is somewhere in your early twenties.

Bollocks. When it comes to creativity and innovation we’re not all fossilised at 40.

Ideas really don’t care when they come from any more than they care about the age of the thinker who thunk them.

Ideas of major cultural significance are no exception. Walt Disney produced some of his most amazing creative work in his 60s. Da Vinci was a prolific polymath until his death at 67, likewise Picasso. Branson is 62, Spielberg is 64, Scorsese and Dylan are still creating at 70, Rupert Murdoch is 80 and Sumner Redstone 88.

Even in this era of radical digital innovation you needn’t have zits to come up with major breakthroughs. Evan Williams of Twitter was 35 when he started in 2007, Mark Pincus of Zynga was 41 when he kicked it off four years ago and Arianna Huffington was 54 when she started the Huffpo in 2005.

At least one major research study finds that the most successful ideas people are on the high side of 40 – “the research shows that an older age is actually a better predictor of entrepreneurial success, and that three other traits also correlate strongly to success: strong fluid intelligence, high openness, and moderate agreeableness”. It turns out these characteristics are acquired with age.

Great ideas come to those people who work at them most. Young or old, creativity has more to do with curiosity, passion and persistence than a DOB. This much is certain, you can’t be lazy and create anything amazing.

Credit: Craig Davis – AWARD Chairman