I wonder if y’all have been having the experience where we talk about future changes and developments and the audience – typically Boomer-centric – attributes these changes to younger generations. It is most common with technology topics, especially information and communications technologies.
But, even when I talk about the emerging values shifts, many audiences immediately “translate” these changes into a generational approach. Thus postmodern values are seen as driven by Gen Y and whatever the next generation is called is seen as behind Integral values. Neither of these ideas is accurate. From the values perspective, the data suggests indeed that values change skews younger. So, postmoderns will be somewhat disproportionately younger, but by no means exclusively, and they are not the drivers; they are more like “inheritors.”That said, I think it is fair to say that younger generations drive communications technology changes. Although, as I point out to these audiences, most if not all of them have smarthphones and iPads or both.
This may seem a small point, but what I see as potentially pernicious is that when groups attribute change to the young, it can be a cop out. “It’s not us, it’s them.” “What can we do?” It becomes a kind of disempowering idea that deflates energy from the room. It’s almost like a victim mentality. I’ve been picking this up and doing what I can to re-direct this conversation into a more empowering mode. But I’m not sure I’m really convincing folks. Anyone else experiencing this? Any strategies that have worked? Any ideas? Andy Hines