While Silicon Valley had peddled the image of the 20-something, sweatshirt-wearing, college-dropout genius as the model for creativity in the 21st century, research shows that it is, in fact, older people who are more creative and productive.
For example, a 2016 study (pdf) by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation that looked at the demographics of over 900 individuals who have made high-value meaningful, marketable contributions to technology-heavy industries in the US.
The study found that the overall median age of innovators was 47 years old. Only 5.8% of the sample—which ranged in age from 18 to 80—was 30 years or younger, and innovation peaked between the ages of 46 and 50. The rate of innovation continues to be very high until the age of 55 and declined sharply after 65, the median expected retirement age in the US.
Particularly in the life sciences, material sciences, and information-technology fields, individuals who filed patents tended to be in the latter half of their careers.