Understanding Generation Y

Friday, April 06, 2018

The future can be prepared for by looking through the lens of the new generations. So how does the next generation think? How do the emerging community of leaders and influencers perceive the world around them?

The millennial mindset is characterised by a new way of seeing reality. Millennials (an interchangeable term for Generation Y, born from 1980 to 1994) are post-literate; post-logical, and post-loyal.


This next generation consume information differently. For them, technology is not simply a tool. Millennials engage with technology as a form of ‘natural language’.

As a post-literate generation, they have an entirely different relationship with technology. Technology for them is not about productivity or doing more – it’s their fundamental way of connecting with the world.

Social media is a new social fabric of both interaction and action: a platform for crowd intelligence and a reshaping of the relationships that people have with one another and even with themselves.

Social media is not simply another channel, but a fundamentally new and different way in which young people organise and live their lives.

With 4.7 quintillion bytes of data created every day, it’s no wonder that the next generation are more comfortable with icons and symbols that communicate meaning, rather than text.


The 20th Century world of structure, sequence and order has given way to a post-categorical era. From information being accessed in an alphabetically structured encyclopaedia to now being a few clicks from any field of information.

Classrooms have moved from a format of chairs and desks facing the front to embracing more interactive learning forms. Teachers were once the deliverers of content and are now facilitators of the learning process.

Climbing the career ladder within an organisation has given way to growing a career by moving across different organisations and industries. The categories of for profit and not-for-profit have also shifted. Today, two-thirds of millennials would be just as likely to support a social enterprise as a charity.

Customers look for an experience not just an outcome- making decisions based on the social, emotional, relational influences, not just the rational ones.


The next generation are in many ways post-loyal. They don’t just give their trust without it being earned. They are the most educated generation in history, and through their connectivity demand any-time any-where access to information. They want more information, evidence and experience before deciding. Consumers today are demanding greater choice, control, immediacy, relevance, personalisation, and transparency.

More than previous generations, the emerging customers want an experience that is tailored to them, and their input. They want to be part of the story. They want to be co-creators of the communication and service delivery. This has facilitated the rise of the sharing economy.

Business to Consumer (B2C) models have traditionally been characterised by a small group of large businesses serving huge numbers of unconnected customers. The disruption of the digital marketplace enables consumers to transact with one another and with the businesses they’re interacting with, on an equal footing.

It also means they compare the experience they have with us to every other experience they have in life, and every other person or business they can directly connect with and engage.

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