What Gen Z can teach us
Scottish author Frances Wright said, ‘The knowledge of one generation is the ignorance of the next.’
Gen X – born from 1960 to 1979; also known as the MTV-generation
Millennials – born from 1980 to 1994; known as the Me Generation for their self-obsession
Gen Z – born from 1995 onwards; true digital natives, integrating virtual and offline experiences
- value individual expression; the search for self within the given framework
- are committed to mobilising themselves for what they believe in
- believe in dialogue and addressing conflict in order to make the world a better place
- are highly analytical and pragmatic when they need to be
Gen Zs constantly evaluate unprecedented amounts of information and influences. For them, the self is a place to experiment, test and change. They can be religious but be open to broader life themes and beliefs. They are also more interested in human rights, defending causes related to identity like race, ethnicity, LGBTQ rights, feminism and more.
Gen Zs are more inclusive than other generations because they have grown up in a world where they have formed friendships both online and offline. This allows for high mobilisation at an instant based on causes and interests, regardless of economic or educational background. Think about how K-pop fans blanked Trump’s recent rally by block-reserving seats. Or how they raised millions overnight for the Black Lives Matter movement. If they care, they dare.
Unlike Baby Boomers, Gen Xs and Millennials who are more prone to ‘breaking off’ discussions due to ‘toxicity’ (hardly any conversation ends with ‘I see your point’), Gen Zs believe in being participative. They can interact with institutions without abandoning their personal beliefs, are more forgiving of corporations that are sincere when they make a mistake. They would rather engage and extract whatever makes sense for them.
With vast amounts of information at their disposal and being more comfortable absorbing knowledge online than via traditional institutions and sources. Gen Zs are more pragmatic and analytical than previous generations. Having born in economic downturns and raging environmental issues, they aren’t as idealistic as the preceding millennials who powered the gig-economy. They are more aligned to regular jobs that allow them to contribute and express themselves because they believe work and play and life and living are all converging. They are ready.
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