“The kids came to each new technology fresh, without preconceptions, and they picked it up more quickly. They dreamed up uses for their phones that, for reasons no one fully understood, never occurred to grown-ups. The instant text message, for instance. […] The technique had spread from Finnish children to busienessmen because the kids had taught their parents how to use their phones. Nokia employed anthropologists to tell them this.” — Michael Lewis describing Nokia’s market research with children from Next
Psychologists suggest kids are more willing to experiment because their “self” is not fully developed. They care far less about social norms, policies, procedures, and the like. Think about it. When meeting someone new, one of the first questions is often “What do you do?”. We respond not by sharing our hobbies, interests, or passions. We say something like “I’m a lawyer.” Adults, for better or worse, tend to define their “self” not by who they are but by their functional role in society — we are our jobs. And lawyers should look and act a certain way. Kids are not bound to by these prejudices and normalities. They can be risk takers.
When technology or society shifts, the normal social structure can get inverted. Kids start teaching their parents instead of the other way around.
Industries experiencing rapid change or technological upheaval might want to start paying attention to or hiring kids. After all, they do not see the flux. They see something new and exciting. Something they might well have to teach you.