From One Generation to Another, Technologically Speaking

In my work at Farland Group over the last few years, through conversations with clients and council members, it’s clear that businesses are focused on their ‘digital transformations.’ During a recent meeting I attended, we discussed how this evolution of technology, or digitization, affects the workforce — specifically how millennials are driving culture change and the difference in millennials from past generations. This caught my attention because I, for one, am considered a millennial, albeit one of the older ones in this age group.

I’ve never characterized myself as a millennial, so I decided to look up the definition and better understand whether the above paragraph was an accurate characterization of 80’s kids. Per Wikipedia, the millennial generation “is generally marked by an increased use and familiarity with communications, media, and digital technologies.” And it makes total sense.

Our mindsets differ from older generations in the workforce because we grew up as technology rapidly progressed. As young children over the years, we bore witness and participated in the shift from written book reports to computer-generated ones; from large, oversized desktop computers to laptops, and from Discman to iPods and MP3 players.

We have a great understanding of technology and its advancements, because before we were set in our ways, the tools changed. It’s why culturally, we look at problems and solutions differently, and why we concentrate on getting things done fast; we have the technological means to do so, knowing we can go back and fix an issue just as swiftly, should a problem arise. It explains why we focus our efforts on the next, new shiny technology-related object, and don’t hold the current one to be the gold standard.

The value of millennials is our instinctive ability to move quickly and be agile, though our weakness is learning how to build things that embrace longevity — something that older generations have perfected. From one millennial to another, we could learn a lot from those who have been in the workforce much longer than us. And from one generation to another, joining forces and having the right collaborative mindsets means we could get to a great place of productivity, and much more, for any digital transformation.

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