Millennial Thinking – Changing the Rules

According to Jeanne Meister, author of The 2020 Workplace (http://futureworkplace.com/ ), the following stats about the changing workplace and the influence that the Millennials have (born after 1980), are some of the reasons why we should adopt a Millennial mindset:

  1. By 2020, 1 in 3 people will be hired to work online, or from anywhere they want, according to Odex, an online marketplace
  2. Stats from Jeanne Meister (http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeannemeister/2012/10/05/millennialmindse/) indicate that Millennials will be 50% of the North American workforce by 2020, and 75% of the global workforce by 2030

Change is happening fast. The Millennials will change the rules to suit their fact-checking, their tech-expertise, and what they consider is fair and excellent post-modern business practice. They applaud any effort that includes them. Check out, for instance, this article, which my son sent me recently, on the coming transitions in the TV industry: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-22152989

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Photo: courtesy of the BBC (pilot of Alpha house, which stars John Goodman)

Pew Research Center (http://www.pewresearch.org/millennials/ ) identifies three core influences on any generation. They are: life-cycle effects (generations become like prior generations); period effects (degree of impact of large events are similar on all generations, but may affect different life-cycles), and cohort effects (generational imprints that stay the same).  In a traditional model of the market, they are three circles of equal size with some overlaps as follows:

The traditional model presumes/leans to a “business-as-usual” approach. For instance, they might think that in ten years the twenty-somethings will simply replace the current thirty-somethings on the bell-curve of market activity, choices, beliefs, et cetera.

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In a post-modern model, the “cohort effect” dominates the other two as follows:

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The emphasis of the “cohort-effect” means that the influence of peers overrides the influence of life-cycles, and even of period effects – in other words, that young people will NOT take on the same market related activities of their forebears. This diagram converted to the bell curve of market activity, looks as follows (vertical axis is an estimate of global GNP in ten years (+-120 trillion dollars), and the horizontal, of four age groups. this graph does not factor in the effect of a shift from demography to Psychography (I will leave that for a later article):

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A young adult said this to me this week: “If we buy, and it does not work, we rip the company apart – we check reviews”. We should ask: if this attitude represents the majority of young adults, how does it affect the way companies should do business in the future?

My daughter-in-law, who is an emerging social network expert, was speaking at a social networking workshop when she asked those present if they used social networks. One of her young adult listeners responded that he had felt ripped off that week by [a mobile company], and tweeted “this company sucks”, attaching the [mobile company] twitter handle. He went public immediately, whereas the older generation, less tech savvy, may have patiently tried the phone route, and put up with stuff like interminable waits, telephone costs, and angry telephonic discussions. Kudos, however, for [mobile company]. Within 2 minutes they had tweeted him back that he could have free service, and moneys refunded. He then immediately re-tweeted out what they did for him. The question, of course, is did [mobile company] overreact? How companies respond to both the little and the big issues show what they think of the cohort effect, long-term and short-term. There is still a grace period for companies to get on board the tech train, though arguably, it might already be too late. [Mobile company] wisely understood what can happen in the millennial community: one tweet, can be re-tweeted thousands of times in minutes, and the net impact/result quickly becomes an irresolvable nightmare.

The rules have certainly changed, and continue to change by the minute.

Keep on. Selume Proferre

Loys – 22nd April 2013

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