Innovators: Is it all over by the time you’re 40?

Innovators: Is it all over by the time you’re 40?

In an inspired piece of number crunching the UK Sunday Times Magazine's Crunch Time feature has dug into Inventing The Modern World: 100 Inventions that Shaped the Worldpublished by the British Library and spotted that an unnerving number seem to have been invented by men in their thirties.  The Bar-code, The Photocopier, The Television, Lego, Nylon, The Post-IT Note, The Seat Belt, The Microchip, The Zip-Fastener, even the Rubik's Cube!

Ok, the hovercraft was invented by a guy in his 40s and the Microwave by a guy in his 50s, but there is an undeniable pattern. 

Is it just that young guys are naturally smarter?  Do you lose something as you age? 

I have a bad feeling it might be true.  I think there is a real risk that the conservatism and risk aversion that overtakes so many guys in the 50s is the big issue.

Fight it at all costs!

In the meanwhile, read an weep at Fortune's 40 under 40 list of Business's Rising Stars.  Ok, it's dominated by internet millionaires … but where is the real innovation coming from at the moment anyway?

Stay young, be brave, take risks (but calculated ones!).