February 05, 2019
Sam Smith

Gen Z Expects Digital and Innovates Different(ly)

Two areas in which Generation Z — born 1995-2012 — demonstrates the maverick mindset include: leading in the digital world and innovating with higher expectations.

David and Jonah suggested this is the first time the youngest generation is entering with the highest level of understanding in such a significant area — technology. Jonah describes Gen Z as “Phigital.” He says, “We don’t see a difference between the physical and digital world. Unlike Millennials (1980-1994), who were digital pioneers, who fought for technology, we’re digital natives. We’ve never known a world without it which is why we don’t just accept digital, we expect it.” This generation is poised to deliver even greater results with their mastery of technological tools. To Gen Z, it’s just how things are done.

“This generation has grown up in a constant beta state. They’re an innovator’s dream.”

In addition to leading in the digital world, Gen Z will elevate expectations on innovation. “We’re happy to question the way things are being done and offer up suggestions if we see a better way. We won’t hold back,” Jonah says. As we discussed innovation, David explained: “This generation has grown up in a constant beta state. They’re an innovator’s dream. They’re not going to wait for perfection to launch. They’ll drive to be first to market and iterate along the way. They’ll put it into the world, then learn, improve and update.”

“This generation looks at things differently. They’re open to learning differently, working differently and leveraging experiences differently.

As we welcome a new generation to the team, and enact leadership development programs to help future leaders better manage them, here’s some candid advice from David. “This generation looks at things differently. They’re open to learning differently, working differently and leveraging experiences differently. As a result, their resumes will look different. We need to check ourselves for generational bias. Are you really ok if your next new hire has a lot of cool experience but didn’t go to college? Challenge yourself to view the world through their lens in order to build bridges.”

This will be a STRETCH experience for us all and we’ll need to go into it with a mindset of curiosity and adventure. We’ll need to be generous in our interactions and create room for change.

What are you experiencing with Gen Z? What excites you? What concerns you? We’d like to hear your perspective.