The great Leadership and Innovation speaker Paul Sloane has been known to give this very sage advice “every new hire comes with a free brain”. In other words, insight can come from anyone, not just the chief architect or the creative director…anyone. If they are savvy, managers who really want to innovate in a competitive market will ensure that the work environment is such that the most benefit can be gained from this most scarce of resources. Companies are busily developing work spaces that will optimise creativity and implementing systems that will harness and implement ideas. But have you noticed that creativity is often most prevalent in the young. How many tech entrepreneurs had their best ideas when the were still in their teens, how many bands reach the i musical peak in their early twenties. In business, it is so easy to spot the idealist from the institutionalised. But is this inevitable? Do we have to accept that our creativity drops as our age rises. Our cognitive ability starts to deteriorate between 20 to 30 and this can cause panic – many companies focus on continually bringing in young people into the organisation but is this the answer? Some experts believe that the reason we become less creative is that we have stopped challenging our brain, We become experts in our field and we become comfortable with our lives. What we really need to do is to keep learning new skills, challenging ourselves, developing new perspectives and staying interested in our universe. Perhaps we should also stop giving our brain functions to technology for a while – reading maps, discovering new music, managing money, doing basic mathematics….. Imagine what we could do with a workforce that was both experienced and creative….