Unlike past generations who needed to be trained on the job and were perhaps often seen as a liability instead of an asset for their first couple of years on the job, Millennials bring immediate value to the workforce through their innovative thinking and their intuitive understanding of technology and how to use it, they can effectively use this knowledge and skills to create new and lasting results. This book can also help the Gen-Y generation better understand their unique skill set and to know exactly what they can do to make themselves invaluable to organizations and to the global workforce of today.
1. What motivated you to write, “The Innovation Generation: The Gen Y Way & How New Thinking Can Reclaim the American Dream”?
I wanted to give corporate America and government a wake up call. So often it seems that the people in power tend to look at the entry-level work force as a cost and drain to an organization’s resources. I feel that this is really a lost opportunity when looking at the Millennial generation (those born between 1977 – 1998) since they are so different than the previous Gen X and Boomer generations and they have a whole different group of skills that many seasoned and experienced employees don’t possess.
The Millennial generation solves problems in new and innovative ways and if companies were to view them as the asset that they are, they could utilize these talents and take advantage of how this new generation can help us to break through some of the barriers that are causing America to move behind other countries in the global workforce. This new way of thinking is a source of innovation and is often a much overlooked asset and one of my goals is to get the word out there to corporate America and government and help them to better understand that this generation is America’s answer to bringing us back to a time when we were the prime innovators and leaders of the global economy.
2. My experience as a career counselor has been that many employers are requesting the skills and talents that this new generation brings to the workforce. I often hear from employers that they are looking to students or new graduates come into the organization and take care of the things that they lack the training and skills to do – online marketing, social media, blogging, etc. In your experience as an entrepreneur can you speak directly to this issue?
It’s absolutely true. At Experience we employ a large number of young people who are extremely clever, resourceful, speedy in completing work assignments as well as in their problem-solving skills, and who bring a whole new skill set to the work force. Their natural inclination is to take a stab at things since their thought process is so different and their unique way of understanding and leveraging technology comes naturally and they are not afraid to tackle any job or try something new.
At Experience our Millennials have helped us develop customer testimonials, video ads, webinars, etc., and have connected directly with our advisory groups and helped in building innovative concepts and creating new ideas. They understand and can better grasp all of the things that technology has to offer while more experienced workers might end up questioning why people would want this new technology and how would they find the time to pay attention to the thousands of new and innovative advances being made in our society each day.
This generation has grown up with technology and intuitively they will figure things out. They don’t possess the mental hurdles that many more experienced, less technologically savvy people in the work force do, who often have to resort to spending hours reading a manual and find themselves becoming frustrated when trying to figure things out.
3. How can educators encourage students to become more innovative thinkers?
First off, I think educators need to become more innovative themselves. A lot of the research being done shows that many of the skills needed to succeed in the 21st century are just not being taught. The raw material is there but we need to come up with a system that helps educators teach the required skills to become successful and to begin to put this to work earlier in our kids.
There is some amazing technology available that can support teachers in the classroom but having the majority of teachers adopt this technology has proven to be a challenge. Although students are eager to learn and grasp new ways of doing things, teachers are often hesitant to adopt new ways due to their own education and how they were taught to teach in the classroom.
One of the biggest opportunities that educators can take advantage of is to encourage children to connect to the working world. Having role models and having adult workers engage with students early on can make a significant impression on a young mind. This can be a huge learning experience and provide students with an array of career options that are out there. Companies are creating projects to help students relate to their businesses which exposes them to things like simple market research or product feedback. Bridging the gap between the educational system and the world of work can offer students many benefits as they are able to see how to apply their learning in the classroom to the real world.