Imagine an incredibly powerful generation who wants to improve the planet. Meet the Millennials: they’re interested in far more than just a bottom line.
Brace for revolution
Born between 1980 and 2000, some estimates place Millennials as comprising 25 percent of the population and controlling as much as 21 percent of consumer discretionary income. While researchers rarely agree how many of them there are precisely, one thing is certain: Millennials will soon be running the world and in control of a great deal of capital.
Stephanie Keller-Bottom, Partner, Growth and Innovation Consulting, at InnoVacient, the California-based strategic advisory group, says to brace for a revolution in how we look at trust and how we define economic health.
“This is a fully-digital tribe who will control 75 percent of the workplace, and they have a different view. Their focus will not simply be the accumulation of wealth. They embrace peer platforms and they’re used to information that moves extremely fast.”
This reasoning, in part, explains the Millennials’ fascination with startups: the fast-moving culture plays to their strengths, even if they’re not quite yet in control of the venture capital. Though the vast majority of startups will fail, Millennials know some will inevitably grow to become tomorrow’s corporate behemoths.
New world, new rules
“[Millennials] have their own tools and their own rules…” Donna Sabino, Senior Vice President at Ipsos MediaCT, told Forbes.com. And these new rules include a new pattern of consumer behavior.
Research shows Millenials so embrace the idea of trust that they’re open to purchasing goods and services from outside a company’s area of proven expertise. In other words, they might be willing to buy financial services from Nike.
And, as is often pointed out, they are digital natives to whom social media is important for building that trust, whether with peers or with brands. Some estimates attribute them a full one trillion US dollars in direct buying power.
Beyond the balance sheet
But what makes Millennials interesting goes far beyond what can be counted on a balance sheet. They were raised in a world where global warming is largely accepted as fact. They’re going to have to fix the planet, and they don’t appear to shy away from the challenge.
At a breakout session in the 2015 Women in Tech conference in Helsinki, a group of Millennials was charged with articulating their vision of sustainability.
“Sustainable business is business as usual,” imagined one Millennial. “There’ll be no such thing as sustainability reports, because it’s a concept we will take for granted.”
“Companies will reflect the values of the people who work there,” dreamt another.
But these Millennials were hardly naïve, and they recognized that individuals alone cannot always affect change. Hence they see government as the enabler, pushing industry in the right direction.
If Millenials have their way – and they likely will – we may someday enjoy a world with less of a quarterly focus. And all the choices will be sustainable.
Ensto Board member Marjo Miettinen addresses the Women in Tech conference.
Author: Scott Diel