This week I was in Hoxton, London, meeting two excellent talents discussing their careers from accountant to CFO, and their innovation and start-up experiences.
Coincidently, they both mentioned the need for start-up CFOs to be super agile when managing people and super broad in their skills and approach to business.
And specifically, both talked about digital natives being a real asset, when allowed time for “ideation”.
Ideation is an old word, that was only used as much as it is today, in Victorian times, the age of the global empires and industrial revolution “steam” pioneers.
Today, it is being increasingly used by young iGens or Digital Natives and start-ups teams, who see ideation as a critical part of their role (and job satisfaction) to form new ideas and concepts and for management to seriously consider them for development and capital.
Both CFOs spoke of the pros and cons of early career Digital Natives in business (how to manage possible flawed expectations and how to create sound judgement without any significant experience, were two cons) but overall both agreed the young, tech-savvy mindset of a young professional in the workplace was a huge pro.
And both said the key to successful retention of a Digital Native was making time for ideation and collaborative innovation, which allowed a project scope to be agreed collectively, for design to be improved with multiple design ideas, leading to delivery being completed at pace… which was essential to their start-up success.
So how are you asking your Digital Natives for ideas?

  • Are you able to capture and convert the best ones?
  • Do you talk about data, innovation, collaboration and ideation?
  • Who in your finance team is responsible for innovation?
  • Is this just a start up thing?
  • Do big corps do ideation?

Update – Jan 2019
Listen to S1 E8 to hear another CFO talking about the need for ideation with iGen’s.