Are millennials better prepared for the “Age of Accelerations”?
In his latest book “Thank You for Being Late”, Thomas Friedman asserts that we live in the “age of accelerations” – due to Moore’s Law, market globalization, and climate change. The problem is that our ability to adapt is only improving at a linear scale, while technology is advancing exponentially. According to Dr. Eric “Astro” Teller, CEO of Google X, technology is already outpacing our ability to adapt, and we are going to have to figure out how to learn faster.
Millennials, and especially the younger half of this latest and largest generation to join the US workforce, might be the most well equipped to thrive in this new era. Twenty-somethings, dubbed by Goldman Sachs as the “world’s first digital natives” are the best educated, and most technically savvy generation of all time.
Every generation builds on the knowledge, experience, and strengths of those who came before them. However, this is the first generation to grow up with smartphones in hand, and two related observations lead me to the theory that they are uniquely equipped to thrive in the age of accelerations:
- Millennials are extremely agile and resourceful with respect to finding the information needed to solve problems. In fact, twenty-somethings grew up with Google and internet search and seem to work in more of a “just-in-time” rather than a “just-in-case” model. This is important because, in a world that changes so much faster, we need to know that we are equipped with the latest facts, information, and opinions to produce the best outcome.
- Millennials are conditioned to share what they know, observe and think. They are also quick to turn to friends when they need to know more or get the advice of someone they trust.
They are also often very efficient and effective communicators. They share and consume content in a style that is short form, with a fluid multimodal adaptability that makes use of the best form of any content to have the best impact.
Of course, rapidly advancing technology enables better and easier sharing and communication. We are just now beginning to see a new wave of apps, inspired and developed by millennials that will literally transform the way we work. In the age of accelerations and Moore’s Law, we can now deliver a safe, low-cost, cloud-based, AI-powered network that learns about you, your schedule and the people with whom you interact. It predicts who you need to share with and manages the organization necessary to make this form and frequency of “micro-sharing” highly useful for work (see Synqq for a great, if biased example)!
We are going to see significant benefits from the 94 million millennials and their rising influence in our US workplace… and equally on a global scale. More sharing, openness and greater transparency are in fact the foundation of strong families, organizations, communities, and societies. It’s also the foundation of learning and adapting to technological, market, and environmental change.
This generation has arrived just-in-time with a uniquely valuable style of work that all of us will need to adopt so we can thrive in this new era.
Let me know what you think!