Gen Y and the Collaboration Age
By Carlos Dominguez, Senior Vice President, Cisco’s Office of the Chairman of the Board and CEO“œMay we live in interesting times.” -Old Chinese ProverbIt’s amazing to see how quickly everything around us is changing, especially when it comes to technology. In 1976 (incidentally the year I graduated from high school) we enjoyed a total of three television channels: ABC, NBC and CBS. There was no cable or satellite TV with the hundreds of channels we have now, no DVRs, on demand, high def, Hulu, the Internet, e-mail, instant messaging, nor text messaging, YouTube …or many of the other technologies my teenager now uses daily. As a matter of fact, 40% of all TVs sold in 1976 were black and white. I can still see the look on my 15 year old’s face when I described what technology and life were like in 1976. “What did you do all day? Life must have been boring,” she said. My Gen Y or”millennial” daughter plus 82 million of her peers were born between 1980 and 1995 and are shaping our world by leveraging technology in all aspects of their lives. They are perpetually connected, communicating and contributing. They engage in 145 conversations about products per week (1), will wait in line for hours to get the new hot product at the Apple store, avoid ads unless they are funny or entertaining, 64% create and share artwork, photos, videos and stories online (2) and 36% of American teens want to become famous …and half believe that they will. (3) If you are lucky like me, you have one of them at home to observe with amazement, and more importantly, to learn from. The digital divide is real but involves several generations. The millennials have grown up digital. The baby boomers (1946-1964 and 82 miliion of them) and the Gen Xer’ s (1965-1981, 60 million ) have not. This divide is increasingly evident as the Gen Yer’s are joining our workforce and the multiple generations are working together. As a matter of fact, 10% (6,000+) of Cisco’s current workforce were born between 1980 and 1988 and bring with them a new set of tools, expectations and behaviors that we need to understand, and leverage. I highly recommend you seek them out in your company and learn how to optimize their experience. For example, use them as tutors on Web 2.0, as early adopters of any new technology …and seek their opinions. 1 Keller-Fay Group, 20072 Pew Internet, 20073 MTV, 2007I recently met with three fantastic, smart, confident, articulate and very connected Cisco millennials and learned a lot from our interaction. I’d like to share our conversation with you since I think they provide valuable insights. I also invite you to submit questions to the blog so we can all learn from each other and help bridge the digital divide.Here are two videos — the beginning of a series — which will help to paint a picture of the way Millennials are now collaborating.By Carlos Dominguez, Senior Vice President, Cisco’s Office of the Chairman of the Board and CEO.You may also connect with Carlos via his Facebook page.