It's no secret that Millennials have started some of the most valued and innovative businesses of the last five years. Companies like Airbnb and Zenefits have experienced amazing growth recently. Like most successful entrepreneurs, these companies' founders have been able to reframe problems in ways that others have not.

Millennials seem to possess a big advantage: They are imagining new ideas and foregoing the established rules and regulations that we non-Millennials have taken as absolute (or in many cases, as the law). Millennials who find a way to rewrite the rules (legal, regulatory, or otherwise) are continuing to thrive. This is the Millennial Advantage.

There have always been government rules and regulations around say who is allowed to drive a cab or operate a hotel. I, like a lot of you, was raised to follow the accepted norm around these and many other services. Millennials have now proven this to not be the case. They have identified and adapted new concepts that leverage technology to re-write or create a loop hole for existing regulations. They are finding that the trick is to truly reframe not just the problem, but also the constraints on your solution and the regulations that guide them. 

What is it about your industry that you believe to be fixed and immovable? Ask yourself: What would a smart Millennial invent without these constraints? Would it be game-changing for your customers? Game-changing for your industry? If yes, then watch out. They may be thinking the same and already have a head start. They often don't have much to lose within the given environment and they likely will not see what you see as a real constraint. 

This is especially true for large, established industries. How could the taxi or hospitality industries ever adapt to fight these new competitors? The main problem is that they would have to destroy their existing business models to compete. And we all know from Clay Christensen's book, The Innovator's Dilemma, this will never happen. They have too much invested and at stake to destroy their own businesses in order to develop a new one.

So I tip my hat to the Millennial Advantage. To those who have foresight to challenge the system and answer the simple question of "what if." To Millennials who can see the world in a way most of us never can. To those who possess the drive to create amazingly disruptive businesses, and have looked beyond the current rules and regulations to leverage their advantage and conceive a better more successful future for the next generation.

Published on: Oct 5, 2015