Young people and business: innovation through collaboration
Upon meeting vinspired’s Youth Advisory Board, I was amazed at what a clever, creative and innovative bunch of people they were and what a valuable asset they all were to a young people’s charity. It got me thinking: why aren’t groups like this being set up and used in the commercial sector? For example, retail.
It’s common practice for businesses to hold focus groups in order to gain a better understanding of their customers’ needs and behaviours. But most of the time, these people are complete strangers with very little understanding of how the business operates internally.
Last month, the ‘Queen of Shops’, Mary Portas warned that the high street is in serious decline and that many businesses needed to innovate or face extinction.
Having your own youth board specifically tied to improving business performance throughout the organisation may be the breath of fresh air that many industries need in this economic climate.
Sir Philip Green announced last month that he’s closing around 250 of his Arcadia stores, with almost a third of employees being young 16-24 years old.
But businesses need to think very carefully before they lay off their young staff – especially if (in Philip Green’s case) they are the company’s primary customer base. Their grass roots experience may just hold that golden nugget in keeping your business alive in 2012.
With the online retail sector looking to break the £56 billion mark by 2014, businesses need to take advantage of the new digitally savvy members of Generation Y/Z and use their fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to move forward. Setting up your own youth board may be the answer.
They say the children are the future, but they are also your customers – listen or lose ‘em.