How A New Generation of Consumers and Co-workers Affect Innovation

The month of August marks the beginning of students going  


back to school. In my own house we 

just sent our 5 year old off to Kindergarten to become a member of the class of 2028. Wow, 2028! Being a child of the 80's I remember thinking the year 2000 was a lifetime away.  

I look forward to each of my kids being a freshman in college starting the journey into adulthood.  This year incoming college freshman will become the class of 2019. Each year Beloit College puts out The Mindset List.  This list of 50 facts is meant to provide a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of these students.  


As an innovator and operations director this list is a window into the mindset of these students - how will they think, work, and spend money. (It isn't just to make me realize college was a long time ago.) When you read the list think about how this may affect your product, service, or

business in the future use it as stimulus as you think about the future.

Below is a portion of the list I personally believe impacts innovation and how this generation thinks the most:

  • Google has always been there, in its founding words, "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible.
  • Hybrid automobiles have always been mass produced.
  • They have never licked a postage stamp.
  • Email has become the new "formal" communication, while texts and tweets remain enclaves for the casual.
  • They have grown up treating Wi-Fi as an entitlement
  • The announcement of someone being the "first woman" to hold a position has only impressed their parents.
  • Color photos have always adorned the front page of The New York Times.
  • Cell phones have become so ubiquitous in class that teachers donÕt know which students are using them to take notes and which ones are planning a party.
  • Their parents have gone from encouraging them to use the Internet to begging them to get off it.  
  • If you say "around the turn of the century," they may well ask you, "which one?"
  • Attempts at human cloning have never been federally funded but do require FDA approval.
  • Kyoto has always symbolized inactivity about global climate change.
  • When they were born, cell phone usage was so expensive that families only used their large phones, usually in cars, for emergencies. 
  • The therapeutic use of marijuana has always been legal in a growing number of American states.
  • Teachers have always had to insist that term papers employ sources in addition to those found online
  • Surgeons have always used "super glue" in the operating room.
  • CNN has always been available en Espa–ol.
  • Splenda has always been a sweet option in the U.S.
  • Humans have always had implanted radio frequency ID chipsÑslightly larger than a grain of rice.
  • TV has always been in such high definition that they could see the pores of actors and the grimaces of quarterbacks. 

Let me know in the comments how this list can help stimulate innovation with your team.