Millennials – Disruption and Opportunity
When you hear the word ‘Millennial,’ for most people it elicits instant reactions – mystery, frustration or admiration. There is no neutral reaction to the Millennials. As a generation, they are not sitting idle, but rather at a rapid pace they are disrupting every industry by adopting new business models.
Inevitably, every youth generation pushes the boundaries of previous generations, but the Millennials are not the same youth as seen before. They mark a new era of thinking, interacting and existing. The Millennials, whom are roughly 18-30 years old, grew up in a digital era, one with global connectivity and social media. As a result, they are highly connected, technologically advanced and globally conscious and according to Deliotte they will make up 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025.
Technology has catalyzed new ways for people to connect, interact, share, and buy. Especially for new business models like the sharing-economy, this has already brought major impact to accommodation and housing. Many cities and travel organizations are fighting companies like Airbnb or Couchsurfing, citing dangers and regulations, but too often, these actions can be motivated by incumbents trying to maintain marketshare. Yet despite the shift, the sharing-economy companies are actually growing everyday and are enhancing market opportunities by opening pipelines to new customers.
With information at their fingertips and the ability to connect with peers globally, Millennials are holding companies accountable for their service to the world. They demand that they buy from and that they work for organizations that provide a socially conscious return to their environment, people and communities.
This passion to have global impact is more than a Philanthropic or Corporate Social Responsibility strategy, but rather Millennials want this impact to be wrapped in the core of companies’ product and services. In fact, according to the data released at MCON14: The Millennial Impact Conference by the Case Foundation, 55% of Millennials in the US were influenced to take their job after discussing cause work in their interview. In other words, a Millennial would only accept a job with a company that was already involved with social good activities.
Is your product environmentally safe? Who makes your product and what are the conditions that they work in? How does your company raise the level of human existence in these communities? These are just some of the questions that Millennials are evaluating organizations against.
When travelling and when at home, Millennials are driving innovation to create new projects and services around the globe. They are highly open to new formats in products and services - but the way in which these are consumed, experienced and shared has new rules. Many higher education programs around the world have recognized this opportunity and in response have launched either massive online open courses or new entrepreneurship education formats.
This age group calls for targeted products, strong technology, new business models and an authentic and true way to provide social impact to communities worldwide. Ultimately, this provides a massive opportunity for those who can embrace innovation and be open to catalyzing their own disruptive product to meet the needs of this generation.
--Marti Wigder Grimminck, Chief Connector of International Connector
Article featured in Class of 2020 Student Housing Conference Magazine