The natural assumption in business is that the higher up in the company, the smarter and more effective the employee but if you listen only to your highly paid executives, you risk overlooking raw talent. After all, Mark Zuckerberg was a sophomore in college when he conceived the idea for Facebook.
Related: The 6 Rules to Hiring Unpaid Interns
Your interns are young and inexperienced but don’t be too quick to dismiss them. You hired them, now get to know them and see if they can do more than just pick up your afternoon smoothie. A great idea can come from anywhere.
1. Fresh eyes and ideas. Interns are not bogged down by the day-to-day operations and stresses of the business. They haven't been rejected and they have not failed. They are untarnished by the company, industry and culture. Sure, they might have a lot of ideas that are just not realistic, but one could be a home run.
2. No fear of failure. Young people are still relatively unfettered by self-doubt. They are still believe they are invincible and that anything is possible. This allows them to let their creativity flow naturally to potentially groundbreaking ideas. They also don’t have to worry that they will be fired because, unlike your executives, they are leaving in a month, anyway.
3. They just might be smarter. I get some pretty good insights from my six-year-old. Just because someone is older, that doesn’t make them smarter. Yes, that executive has experience that is paramount in most cases, but that 19-year-old may have the intellectual ability to process and analyze on an even higher level.
4. They know what’s trending. Trends and pop culture start with the younger demographic. They naturally sense what’s hot and what’s not. Their insight as to what currently appeals to their generation can be invaluable.
5. They are eager to impress. Interns believe they’re the next CEO and they want you to recognize it. If you cultivate their drive and give them the encouragement to create, the possibilities are endless.
Take advantage of all the talent around you. Interns are future executives who, if you’re lucky, just might help the future of your business.