Posts Tagged ‘millennials’

Work/Life Balance – Yesterday’s News?

Monday, May 17th, 2010

worklife Working off the back of the Hybrid Organisation reports we recently released, we were invited to talk with Peter Whitehead from the FT’s Digital Business podcast to discuss the concepts that we think will shape the way in which we live, work and play in the future.  It was a great opportunity for Prof. Michael Hulme, Philip Ross and myself to discuss the reports focusing on the potential impact and those all important 20 golden rules for business in the digital age

It’s a great overview and expertly edited _down_ to a mere 16 minutes – genius!

You can find the podcast here…

Rise of the Pro-Ams

Sunday, January 17th, 2010
What ever next?

What ever next?

Experience and tenure are at stake, we are starting to see an army of amateurs falling out of the clouds (pun intended), and the new heroes are the underdogs, the unknowns and the every day Jo’s. We see it everywhere, from television atrocities such as X-Factor, where you can become a hero just as quick as becoming a loser. But there are important success stories to consider, such as the Cuban blogger, Yoani Sanchez who through political persecution spread the words around the world of the real experiences of those living in Cuba, to which she was awarded the prestigious ‘Maria Moors Cabot’ journalism award.

Leadbeater and Miller describe professional amateurs, or ‘Pro-Ams’ as “Innovative, committed and networked amateurs working to professional standard. This emerging group, the ‘Pro-Ams’ could have a huge influence on the shape of society in the next two decades”. I certainly wouldn’t disagree…But it’s also not a new thing, take Richard Branson and Bill Gates as examples, Pro-Ams in their own right back in the hay day, but I think what Leadbeater and Miller are getting at is the opportunity that the Internet, and more importantly the Web has created. In the past 15 years we have seen a proliferation of more multi-million dollar organizations than ever before, just to name-check a few: Google, Twitter, eBay, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, PayPal (etc) and these are not just fads, each organization in their own right has changed intricate details of society, and out of nowhere they were sprung by Pro-Ams. So what does this all mean? It means opportunity for those less fortunate, innovation enthusiasts and entrepreneurs.

Looking back over the past decade, the Internet and the Web have advanced and become pervasive commodities, and looking five years ahead it’s possible to see it becoming a mere service that we WILL take for granted, like many of our developed world pleasures. However, unlike the ‘real-world’ in the cyber-world your voice can be heard if you shout loud enough. Fede Alverez, a keen amateur film maker uploaded a video project that he’d been working on, it was a 4 minute sci-fi spectacle depicting giant robots destroying the capital city of Uruguay…not too dissimilar to Michael Bay’s blockbuster hit Transformers 2, but unlike Bay’s $50million flop, Alvarez’s powerful short film was made for free, instead opting to use his own skills behind the camera, creating his own CGI robots and getting his friends involved. Within a few days, Alvarez was contacted by many Hollywood studios and has now signed a $30million deal to shoot a film for Sam Raimi (Famed for his Spider-Man remake, and Evil Dead trilogy).

These are stories of glory, and maybe your next-door neighbour isn’t going to become the next James Cameron, but one thing is for certain, there are millions of people around the world being discovered for their fresh and new ideas. Talent is easier to spot than ever before, don’t be blind-sided by experience and tenure, because originality and passion will never become passé.

UK University Innovates!

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

A few Universities around the world are creating mobile applications, but probably none as useful and as perfect to the new student as this one that has been developed by the University of Lancashire.

I begin my final year of studies at University next week, and I could see something like this being incredibly useful.

A great debate

Friday, June 12th, 2009

Yesterday was a brilliant day. We got invited to present to members from the Institute of Directors (IOD) in Birmingham, having done a similar session on Workforce Evolution back in May. The guys we presented to yesterday made the session a real success and I want to thank everyone who attended for their input. When I think about it, we didn’t really present yesterday we discussed instead. So instead of two people having their say and sharing their insights we had around 20 different people from different industries express their thoughts on technology and the future. We talked about everything from search engines to education.

One thing I have realised is that businesses are becoming more demanding of technology. They aren’t interested in technology that “does the job” they want and expect technology that will push their business and drive the company forward. This is fantastic as it will force the technology industry to push the boundaries of innovation much further. When I say we talked about technology, I don’t mean products and specifications, but rather what technology enables us to do. One of the most interesting discussions was the need for office buildings. Do we really need them? Think about it, would it be possible to get rid of your office building and still run your business? One suggestion was to have team meetings in Barbados, attendance would almost certainly be at 100 %.

We all agreed that the education system will be incredibly important over the next decade or so as we need to ensure that the youngest Millennials can fill the huge gap that Baby Boomers will leave as they start to retire. And is it really true that all Millennials are tech savvy? definitely not. There are still a lot of young people in this country that do not have access to the internet which is something the government will have to improve drastically over the next couple of years.

Sessions like the one yesterday are very thought provoking and in our modern society there isn’t always time for that, but there should be. Thinking is crucial and it’s something we should make more time for, so I hope we made some people think about the workforce evolution and the change it will bring about.

Another thing that made my day yesterday was watching this video with Seth Godin presenting at the TED (Technology Entertainment Design).I think the guy is one of the best presenters on the planet. And in this video he talks about the internet and the way it is ending mass marketing, awesome stuff.

Seth Godin on the Tribes that we lead

Workforce Evolution OR Workforce Revolution? | a Prologue

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

Many people seem to think that technology is a means to innovation, when in actual fact its the people that drive change. Understanding people in the workforce is arguably the most important thing when planning for the future of a business, “Why?” you may ask – well, from now until 2018 and beyond the workforce will be enhanced with new skills and characteristics coming into the mix that have the potential of changing the way we will be working, possibly even as soon as five years time.

 Before we get to the above conclusion though, whats’ more important is to understand how we will be getting there. There is logic behind my madness!

Where we are today (UK)

So today we have four generations in the workforce, but for this post I will focus on the three prominent generations, Baby Boomers*, Generation X** and the Millennials***.


The Baby Boomers*, 14 million strong in the workforce and hugely important to industry – A generation born between the years of 1946-1964, began coming into the workforce several years after WW2 with an enthusiasm to change the world by coming up with new ideas, building new industries from the ground up.


Generation X**, 11 million in the current workforce, born between the years of 1964-1980 –  The generation that witnessed the inception of the personal computer, worked through the ‘’ boom and possibly dabbled in the rise of MTV and Punk music. Gen Xers are also presumed to be ‘Next in thrown’ to the boomers, but is this really true?


Millennials***, currently 8 million in the workforce, though having been born between the years of 1980-2000 meaning that there is a huge amount (9 million) still in education. The youngest era of this generation are in fact still at primary school. By 2020 it is possible that there could be 17 million Millennials in the workplace (A deeper look into the fundamentals and importance of this generation in relation to the evolution of the workforce will be explained in the next blog post).


These demographics matter, they’re not ‘shock’ facts or over glorified estimates, its a realistic possibility, our workforce is going to change, unless we can figure out a miracle cure for aging…


Baby Boomers are important, they carry mass amounts of invaluable knowledge, experience and seniority, the data and information that they hold is imperitive to the organisations that they are part of. Now is the time to start sharing with the generations that will be leading industry in the future, but how? Sharing information is simpler today than ever before, we can consume huge amounts of information from multiple repositories daily, now is the time to experiment with things such as social computing.


As stated, there are 9 million Millennials that have still not entered the workplace, but its important that they do in order to fill the void that the Boomers will leave over the course of the next decade. Good education is a must in order to get the rest of this generation into the workforce and fullfill generational blend and insdustry sustainability. But its not all doom and gloom, this generation are going to bring in a whole host of new skills and character into the workplace, not to mention their lack of fear towards technology, but the fact that they couldn’t give a stuff about it. Millennials ‘pick up and play’, not just technology but processes, they can learn from multiple mediums at a worryingly fast pace.


So going back to my intro-conclusion, the next generation of workers will change our methods of work, possibly not as drastically as first perscieved, but in terms of such things as sharing, storing and consuming information. Lessons can be learnt, are you going to sit and wait for the changes to be more apparent or are you going to be prepared for the change to occur?

Forgetting, changing and innovating

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Over the past 12 months myself and Jonathan Peach have done so many presentations to different people that I struggle to remember them all. As people this is what we do, we do things and then forget about them. Very rarely do we get the chance to reflect upon what actually happens. Blogging is good for this purpose, because you can go back and read about what you had forgotten. When we present our research around the Workforce Evolution we tell people that things are changing and that it would be wise for them to understand that change so they can prepare for it. The change we talk about is a difficult one. The workforce is already evolving, but it might take more than a decade to see the full effects, and as anyone can imagine it is difficult to tell people to change today in order to prepare for ten years ahead. Although, I would argue that if you cannot respond to the way your workforce will change then you will probably not be in business in ten years time anyway.

I think many business leaders find what we say interesting, but they do as we all do, they forget. Buzz words like strategy, innovation and future are widely used by business leaders, but do they act upon it? Some people argue that short term thinking brought us the recession; business leaders talked the “long term language” then but clearly did not walk the talk.

Over the past couple of months I’ve met with many decision makers and its incredibly tough for them to make strategic decisions as the whole economy seems to be in survival mode. If your ideas do not show quick ROI or saves money then it’s not interesting. To me it seems we have gone from one extreme to another. Looking to the past to determine the future can sometimes work really well and when it comes to recession behaviour this is definitely true. Companies like Proctor & Gamble, Walt Disney, Microsoft and Google were all recession era start ups. Also, let’s not forget that transformational innovations such as the PC and the IPod were invented during tough economic times.

These companies believed in innovation and the long term but still managed to survive tough times. Maybe focusing all efforts on driving down costs will work for some, but the real winners will be those who can do what’s right now and act upon what they predict will happen in the future. Too often innovation is associated with technology and inventions, but it’s much more than that. Innovation is “a new way of doing something”, so how about behavioural innovation? Businesses will have to change their culture and behaviour to suit the most diverse workforce ever witnessed, and the way in which they respond will have a massive impact on their future success.