Generation Y asks for Theory Y

There’s a lot going on about interconnectedness, sharing, co-creation, opening stuff up and so on and so on. This has a lot to do with the coming of age of the internet (from information to collaboration), but even more with the coming of age of my generation, Generation Y.

When in meetings, there’s a big difference between a meeting with people who understand the power of thing like the internet of things, collaboration, system thinking,… and a meeting with those who don’t. I’m not saying that this understanding is owned by one generation or assignable to a certain age-group, but there’s a big difference in how information is approached between people who grew up with and those who grew up without internet. It’s not just the schooling system, it’s not just social media, it’s not just hacking-culture, it’s not just open-source, it’s the combination of all that.

I dare to say Generation Y is getting tired of creating content for the sake of creating content. Put into action, do something with it, create a buzz! the only question that remains is, is this possible in our current business-structures?

Generation Y

Who or what is generation Y? Officially, Generation Y is also known als the Millennial Generation, the demographic cohort following Generation X. This generation starts from birth dates starting in the late 1970s to the early 2000s.

Of course it’s impossible to put an exact date on this generation, and of course there are immense differences between different people in this group, but I think there are some trends that go beyond a popular platform or search engine. In Belgium, we are also called the Facebook Generation. Other names include Generation WeGlobal GenerationGeneration Next, and the Net Generation. Many people think this generation was formed by social media, but most of them forget that it’s Generation Y that built most of these platforms.

Although Generation Y is pretty much ruling the internet (if they haven’t created the platforms, they’re using them), they haven’t got much to say in traditional business-structures. A generation that’s used to communicating and sharing in a way unimaginable a few decades ago, can also (if guided properly) change the way we’re doing business in a way unimaginable.

Theory y

Theory Y is a theory proposed by Douglas McGregor back in 1960 in his book ‘The Human Side of Enterprise’. While revolutionary (and most of the times ignored) in the 60s, this theory turned out to be extremely visionary. Theory Y is pretty much where organisations are evolving towards, and it fits perfectly in the mindset of Generation Y.



About leyssensjan

Jan Leyssens is a designer and entrepreneur who strongly believes you can’t turn sustainability into a positive story if your main focus is on negative impact. When designing, he is always looking for the overlap between activism and entrepreneurship, technology and community. His main expertise lies in strategic business model development, Circular Economy, the makermovement, and social innovation. With a background in Industrial Design, Jan quickly shifted his focus towards business design and using the design process in strategic management. Jan is the father of two kids and founder & CEO of Regenerative Design, co-founder of Full Circle, ImpactBoost, and the Circular Design map, podcaster, storyteller, and changemaker.

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