Over the last few years, we have noticed a marked increase in the interest people are taking in the next generation – Generation Alpha. To many people, they are a bit of a mystery. As those who named them, we regularly get to speak to groups of parents wanting to find out more about the world shaping their children, educators, and business leaders wanting to better understand them, and some of the leading technology platforms about what they need to know in order to remain relevant in changing times. What we have noticed is that people are starting to sit up and take note that a new generation is not only coming, but they are already here.

When you envision the next generation of children, what do you think about them? Perhaps you conjure images of them always being glued to their devices, impatient, and a little entitled. Or maybe you see them as being resilient, optimistic, adept at responding to change and good at taking risks. Perhaps a bit of both. Whatever your perspective, it is helpful to think about your assumptions.

Generational differences

Generational stereotypes are nothing new. Generation Y (Millennials, born between 1980 and 1994, the parents of Generation Alpha) have been labelled as lazy and entitled. Even older generations, like the Baby Boomers, were labelled in a similar way when they were growing up. In part, these stereotypes come from simply being young. But it is also true that today’s younger generations look different to how older generations did at the same age.

A more accurate understanding can be gained by looking at the significant life events, social markers and formative technologies that have affected each generation. By taking the time to understand this – the context – we move away from ‘generationalising’ to generational analysis. Recognising the impact of the shared experiences, societal expectations and new inventions that shaped people in their formative years helps us to better understand those of different generations and overcome generational stereotyping.

Understanding Generation Alpha’s context will help us to better serve them

Rather than looking at divisions among the generations, we believe it is important to develop understanding across them. This is the first step to facilitating better engagement and connection in places where different generations mix – particularly in families, schools and workplaces. An understanding of the different generations enables us to honour those who laid the foundations of what we are building on today. The stories of the different generations matter, and an understanding of the unique times, events and experiences that have shaped Generation Alpha and their era will allow parents, educators and leaders to be more relevant in these changing times.

In the book, we explore the various stages of life that Generation Alpha will walk through including home and community, education, the workplace, health and wellbeing. Our hope once people have finished reading the book, is that they will have a greater understanding of the world Generation Alpha are growing up in and therefore who they are. That readers will not only be informed but inspired and equipped with the tools to help Generation Alpha live and thrive in today’s challenging and constantly changing world.