The Economist Magazine, in a recent article, “Generation Jobless”, analyzed figures provided by the International Labor Organization, the OECD, and the World Bank Database, and calculated that, “all told, almost 290 million (15 – 24 year olds) are neither working, nor studying; almost a quarter of the planets youth”. Attributing this to the Global Financial Crisis where the newest hires were first to be laid off and also to the poorly run labor markets in some of the world’s largest and fastest growing populations of young people.
The article states that this trend is exasperated by the mismatch between the skills young people offer and the skills employers need, resulting mostly from “poor basic education”. “Necessity” is causing the world to attend to this disturbing trend, evidencing the need for systemic changes in the education “education-work-employment paradigm!”
Perhaps, it could also create the possibility of getting businesses, academic institutions and governments to work together, within an innovative eco-system context, to develop young people as potentially Start-Up business entrepreneurs! Now could even be the time to initiate an educational and societal “right hand turn” whilst there is so much global financial and geopolitical instability and massive amounts of technological disruptions! Forcing organizations and governments to adapt and redesign their traditional structures, in their search for more innovative, global, high tech, cost effective and resilient business operating models!
Being located in the Middle East, which, when coupled with North Africa, as a region that has 40.6% youth unemployment and inactivity, (15-24 year olds, not in education). This unsettling and enormously challenging phenomena, is manifesting in a number of unexpected, disruptive and explosive ways. Israel, however, plays to a different tune, the younger generation are encouraged, and enabled to create innovative Start-Up businesses, which are a key part of its entrepreneurial Israeli Start-Up culture (and cult). Young people are motivated to be creative to constantly improve the way high tech businesses operate, the world we live in and the lives we lead. Israel, through “Necessity”, has created one of the world’s first successful national innovative eco-systems; the cluster of world class universities, government agencies, venture capitalists, large organizations, Israel Defense Forces and Start-Ups that collaborate informally and internally, to compete externally and globally.
Israel has adapted to its geographic and geopolitical instability and constraints and maximized these to become a world leader in disruptive high tech innovation. In Israel people constantly debate (part of the argumentative culture) and challenge conventional thinking and approaches to create “right hand turns”. In Israel, people willingly and continually disrupt the status quo and rock the boat to allow new possibilities and solutions to emerge. In Israel, people seek to maximize differences, deviance and diversity and build upon these to unleash “out of the box” ideas and generate unexpected solutions. Always willing to courageously improvise experiment and tolerate failures as the “basis for finding successes”, Israeli Start-Up entrepreneurs keep their lives, and their businesses, “simmering” and on the “constant boil”.
This has created a business environment where entrepreneurs and their Start-Up businesses quickly adapt, invent, develop scale, deal with adversity, and develop the resilience required to operate seamlessly in an uncertain, chaotic and unstable world. Entrepreneurial education begins in high school in Israel, students often incubate their initial ideas for exciting new Start-Up ventures in the classroom, supported by a curriculum that builds students competence, confidence, courage and passion for the inventiveness required to “make a difference”. Budding Start-Up entrepreneurs often meet their co-founders whilst completing their compulsory military service, often in an elite high tech unit, where they take on deep responsibilities unheard of in other nations. Israeli universities have created classroom based incubators that allow students to put theory into action, in safe learning environments, where failure is acknowledged as an expected, valuable and serious part of the overall learning process.
Microsoft and Google are just two of the many global companies and associations that have established start-up incubators and accelerators, or facilitate Start-Up weekends and hackathons. Almost every university has a centre for entrepreneurship, where students team up to present their well formulated Start-Up sales pitches to enthusiastic and supportive audiences, hoping that someone from the wide and diverse range of angel and venture capital investors, crowd funders, grants and business finance options will dare to invest in their innovative idea or solution to fast track and speed up its implementation.
ImagineNation, an Israeli Start-Up has spent the last 3 years researching and deciphering the intrinsic motivators, mindsets and behaviors that underpin and drive this unique entrepreneurial culture and innovative eco-system. It has modeled and replicated these into a corporate learning model and system, to teach the corporate world, how to develop innovative leadership capability and start-up entrepreneurship.
Ernst and Young, in their “Avoiding a Lost Generation” Report, based on their Entrepreneurial Survey, produced for the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance Summit in Russia in June, this year, states that:
“At a time when society’s biggest issue is youth unemployment, businesses and governments must work together to help young people foster an entrepreneurial mindset. That means fostering a culture which supports young people to take risks, set up businesses, create jobs and become masters of their own destiny. Whether it’s through finance, mentoring, incentives or training, we must all play our part so that this generation can achieve its potential.” Their survey also revealed that “a very large majority of entrepreneurs are optimistic about their ability to drive growth and job creation in the coming years, whether based in mature or merging markets.”
That these entrepreneurs are ready “to play a key role in reinvigorating growth and job creation in G20 countries. Through their relentless investment in innovation, they create new products, new services, and new innovative business models-and so at a scale and speed that is unprecedented in recent decades.”
This suggests that there is an opportunity to create collaborative way of governments working together with large corporations, educational institutions and policy makers, with budding entrepreneurs to co-create the new “education-work-employment paradigm” paradigm.
This will ignite growth, break down barriers, and build the bridges between education and work necessary to enable young people to tune into and better achieve their potential. To create a new generation of innovative, global, high tech, digital, cost effective and resilient Start-Up businesses that can grow, flourish and sustain future generations.
Janet Sernack has 30 years of consulting experience to the manufacturing, retailing, finance and telecommunications businesses to Australasia’s and Israel’s top 100 companies as Compass Learning Pty Ltd. She relocated to Israel, where she joined the Start-Up revolution and founded ImagineNation, a generative and provocative global learning company that develops innovative leaders and entrepreneurship in global corporations.