Let me share a story. In the last month, I had the pleasure to talk with a leading executive from an international financial institution in Brazil. He proudly shared, more than 65% of their employees are generation Y (Millennials) and argues that this will make their organization even more innovative.
I asked him if his clients share them same percentage of Millennials. The answer was no.
Organization sometimes gets too excited by the changes and media hypes/stories. Some consultancies enter the game and proclaim that we need to innovate 10 millennial and allow them to question anything.
Diversity in age is one perspective and defending it would not only demotivate (internal clients) but is blindsided, blocking new value opportunities for our (external clients). There might exist organization where the workforce and their clients are just Millennials, yet this reality is an exception. Most organizations have a more diverse generation mix as clients and users. This applies to traditional segmentation criteria as to experiences. Experiences transcend traditional definitions of customers and users and this means that the insight come from many inputs.
Super simplification and “hyping” are neither useful nor economically productive for organizations in the long run. Neither only Millennials, nor just an open-office culture or applying collaboration in any process will “save your organization”. This thinking may create a short-term marketing and media response, but it does not define organizations that work, innovation, design or the future success. Where collaboration is interesting for idea, insight generation, asset and resource sharing, not too productive for strategic execution. An open-office culture is adequate for some types of personalities. Others more silent thinkers and doers prefer the balance of private and open, based on their tasks, live moments and business activity cycle. And Millennials might be seem innovative and searching for their purpose, but this does not mean that they can more easily understand and innovate for other parts of society.
Clearly, organizations need to connect to Millennials, but they have to the same with the other 65-80% of society.
It is the balance that matters not the hype.
Look at the aging part of society. People above 65+ grow faster in societies in comparison to any other generation. Many countries should embrace a strong re-integration of elderly people in economic activities to survive. Immigration can help to balance the missing younger worker force in many countries, yet we already perceive social tensions and irrational emotions peaking. So ask yourself. Where is your talent screening for older people or immigrants/refuges? Why do we think innovation is mainly driven by Millennials, young and Interns? And why is the Silicon Valley mentality spreading that you shall not be older than 30 something to succeed as a start-up?
There exist for each of these believe logical arguments. Yet they present only one side of reality.
When we want to generate value for society, we shall see society and our stakeholders as a more diverse whole; a mix of different people.
Thank you for reading my post. Please spread the word and your point of view in the comments.Here are some other recent posts I have written: