Apple's former chief executive Steve Jobs unveils the iPhone on January 9, 2007. While Jobs was a great thinker at a young age, some of his greatest innovations such as the iPod and iPhone came later in his career.
Apple's former chief executive Steve Jobs unveils the iPhone on January 9, 2007. While Jobs was a great thinker at a young age, some of his greatest innovations such as the iPod and iPhone came later in his career. - 

What is the best age for innovation? Are you more innovative in your 20s or your 50s?

Tom Agan, managing partner at innovation and brand consultancy Rivia, has come up with answer that might surprise you.

"The real innovators average about age 40," Agan says, adding that the popularized image of a young college age innovator -- think Mark Zuckerberg -- is a "total fallacy."

Agan cites Steve Jobs, who introduced the iPod and iPhone in just the last decade of his career, after years of personal computing experience.

The upshot? Companies looking to lower costs by hiring a younger workforce may be losing out on innovation.

"The number one factor for innovation is learning from past experiences, learning from past successes and failures" Agan says. "Now that we've moved into a knowlege-base world, experience becomes much more important."

To hear more about the relationship between age and innovation, click on the audio player above.

Follow Jeremy Hobson at @jeremyhobson