WXN Digital Brand Ambassador Ilona Dougherty is Wired for Innovation

Do you remember your first summer job? What it felt like to come to the office every day instead of going to school? How grown up it seemed?

Our first jobs often make lasting impression on us. But in a world that portrays Millennials and Gen Z as a nuisance, are we giving young people the opportunity to make a positive impact on the workplaces they will frequent this summer?

Recently at the University of Waterloo I give a Tedx talk about how our summer interns and young employees are in fact the innovation engine our companies need in a knowledge economy. Neuroscience and developmental psychology tells us that from 15 to 25 years old young people’s brains are wired for innovation. They don’t need to be trained or taught to be innovative, we just need to tap into their natural abilities.

This summer I encourage you to look at the summer interns and young employees you are working a little bit differently. If you let them, they can have just as much of a positive impact on the work you do, as your mentorship and support will have on them.

For more tips and insight about how to tap into young people’s potential in the workplace check out my Tedx talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mobQ-r6k5xY


Ilona Dougherty is the Managing Director of the Youth & Innovation Research Project at the University of Waterloo (https://uwaterloo.ca/youth-and-innovation/) and was one of WXN’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in 2015.