The Digital Generation

The Ci “Digital Generation Initiative” was designed to understand the attitudes of next-generation workers and – as a result – to define the shape of tomorrow’s agile workplace. It included a new survey tool to help employers monitor the take-up of ‘Web 2.0’ tools at home and at work.

There is much talk of ‘Generation Y’ whose attitudes to work, we’re told, will require a complete re-think amongst employers. Much of this is hype. Our research for the Ci Manifesto paints a different picture and identifies five types of worker, across all ages and generations.

However there is one way in which young workers will differ greatly from their predecessors: Their use of technology. For this reason, in 2008 Ci set out to help educators, technology firms and top employers track, understand and adapt their use of technology to the emerging communication and working styles of the Digital Generation. Our focus was particularly on growth markets, from where a new generation of international business and public leaders is emerging.

The initiative comprised a review of corporate recruitment websites and use of web 2.0 tools, detailed case studies of best practices, focus groups and a global survey of students and workers. The survey was launched in early 2008 with young opinion leaders invited by AIESEC, the world’s largest student-run organisation.

  • The survey was run internally by employers whose HR and IT departments needed to know how people were using ‘web2.0’, in order to prioritise their investment in new technologies and working practices.
  • Top Employers were able to understand, attract and equip tomorrow’s most talented workers by deploying appropriate technology for recruitment and collaborative working.
  • Technology firms were able to track user preferences and make informed predictions about the likely demand for technologies to support tomorrow’s workers and employers.
  • Educators were able to identify current use of social media for learning purposes, and understand how they can help prepare the next generation of ‘collaborative’ leaders.

To find out more about the Digital Generation Initiative you can:

– view a summary of the findings (video) on CiTV

– read how the survey can me used to make work more fun, on the Management Innovation Exchange

– explore our case studies of best practice to learn how:

US Army is using game technology to recruit the Digital Generation.

Booz Allen Hamilton is leveraging CSR to motivate and develop young high-performers.

BT has introduced social media tools to enhance knowledge sharing and productivity.

?What If! – an innovation consultancy – is sustaining its own culture of innovation.

Unilever uses reverse mentoring through young IT coaches to help senior executives get the most out of new technologies.

Performance improvements can be achieved when competitions and other games are designed into the work-flow.