New business models need fresh leadership.

Book Review

Young World Rising: How Youth, Technology, And Entrepreneurship Are Changing the World From the Bottom Up

Rob Salkowitz, 2010

“Top-down and command-and-control style management, whether from governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or private companies, is increasingly inappropriate for solving 21st century problems. Young people raised on networks have better ideas that we should listen to.”[1]

Salkowitz explores how an emerging generation of young leaders and entrepreneurs—globally—are grasping hold of opportunities where many traditional business models are redundant or at the very least, becoming increasingly ineffective. This challenges many leadership models commonly held today.

Some of his key insights include –

  • There are three forces reshaping the world: youth, ICT (information and communications technology) and entrepreneurship[2]
  • The rich old world (old economy) and the poor young world (new economy)[3]
  • The digital divide between the rich old world and the poor young world is closing, albeit slowly. However, the young world is going mobile, fuelling the spread of the knowledge economy[4]
  • The technology age gap: whereas the old economy sees technology as a problem to be solved and something to be integrated into existing frameworks, the new economy sees the possibilities of networks and data[5]
  • Innovation is increasingly occurring at the bottom of the pyramid[6]

While the possibilities emerging with this new younger more mobile generation can naturally cause some traditional leaders to be threatened and even daunted by the seemingly endless opportunities arising, those that are willing to embrace fresh perspectives and forward-thinking partnerships, have a lot to gain.

Salkowitz provides many examples of innovative initiatives launched by these young entrepreneurs. He states that there are six distinctive qualities that underpin ‘Young World’ entrepreneurship:

  1. Blends social and commercial objectives
  2. Creatively aligns public, private, and NGO resources
  3. Leverages communities and collaboration
  4. Is well-adapted and sustainable in Young World environments
  5. Embraces the globalization of the knowledge workforce, and
  6. Solves systemic problems while meeting market needs.

I found Salkowitz’s work in Young World Rising to be extremely insightful and inspirational. It reminds us that we can’t be complacent in engaging and encouraging partnerships that have the capacity and the capability to achieve greater things together in a world that guarantees uncertainty.


[1] Rob Salkowitz, Young World Rising: How Youth, Technology, And Entrepreneurship Are Changing The World From The Bottom Up (New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2010), 166.

[2] Ibid., 9.

[3] Ibid., 17.

[4] Ibid., 29.

[5] Ibid., 35.

[6] Ibid., 41.

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