Industry Insights

The Pioneering Mindset Shaping Tomorrow’s Innovation Frontier

Content by Alex Sharkey

As the economy begins to rebound and supply chains stabilize, a much more lasting effect is just emerging in the information and innovation sector. Today’s changing employee power dynamic for the tech-enabled and remote-eligible class has fueled a substantive shift to their core priorities, their definition of success and the expectations of their workplace. This new perspective, an evolving value set of the information, technology, and intelligence workers, we call the Innovation Pioneer Mindset.


Understanding The Innovation Pioneer

BIG commissioned a hybrid qualitative/quantitative study of 300+ tech and intelligence workers from around the country to understand the shifting desires, motivations and expectations when considering their employment prospects today.

Shaping a Shift

While fueled in recent years, this mindset shift has been simmering a long time. Many that share this mindset today are generationally disillusioned with traditional markers of success, have been discouraged by the high cost of living in their cities, and have had their careers repeatedly impacted by economic factors outside of their control. 

They had already embraced entrepreneurship, the gig economy and side hustles to subsize their goals. COVID only calcified their dissatisfaction, evidenced their leverage in the marketplace and forced a reevaluation of where and how they want to work.

A Mindset Motivating Change

This new mindset is marked by an empowered optimism; they are professionally independent, technologically capable, and personally resilient. 

Tech, information, and intelligence workers who share this mindset are looking to let go of the traditional grind, chart their own path, and take more control of their career. They are eager to move out of major metros and find fertile new ground to grow their careers and raise their families. Many are seeking to scale down their market to maximize their impact. They are looking to make a mark all their own and have a low desire for guidance or mentorship from conventional industry thinkers. 

They are embracing a renewed sense of adventure. They’re seeking out opportunities to reinvent themselves professionally and discover an eclectic new community that fuels passions. No longer limited by geography, they are hungry for opportunities that let them shape the future of their industry in their community. For them, the great outdoors has taken new priority as they search for new frontiers to provide space to roam and rediscover themselves.

Learning Highlights

  • 70% of candidates said that moving to a new city for work allows them to reinvent themselves. 
  • 73% said they would move someplace new if their role could help shape the future of their industry.
  • Nearly 3/4th said a first-class ticket around the world would be a motivating incentive to take a job.
  • 80% are drawn to smaller markets where they can professionally accelerate, not slow down (60%).

Connecting with This Modern Professional Set

This emerging mindset represents much more than a new challenge for corporate recruiters. It marks a material shift industry leaders must consider to ensure their organizations can attract talent, remain relevance with a modern professional class and be industry leaders in the years ahead. 

Recruiters should stay cognizant that today’s candidates have reoriented their definition to success around their personal growth rather than their contribution to your organization. 

Challenger businesses have opportunities to attract tomorrow’s talent in opportunity markets where they can better invest in their employees and elevate their quality of life. 

Marketers should appreciate that this professional class sees their self-image less defined by their careers and their professional ambitions as fuel for their personal growth. 

Cities and towns occupying these untrodden paths have huge opportunities to attract this modern workforce and redefine the centers of industry and innovation in their regions.

Preparing For Tomorrow

Connecting with today’s modern professional class requires keeping a constant pulse on the emerging mindset. If you would like to learn more about the Innovation Pioneer Mindset, or would be interesting in participating in future rounds of research to understand its impact in specific sectors, please contact

Want to Talk?

Niki Lim Roden

Director of Business Development