iGEN by Jean Twenge

iGEN by Jean Twenge: Yorkshire Powerhouse Score 6/10

This book is a must for any business wanting to market to consumers born after 1995 and managers seeking to get the best from them; some would say it’s a must for any parent wanting to understand children born after that date!

Who will gain the most from reading this book?

Managers looking to understand the mindset of employees born after 1995.

Core Content

The book starts off by asserting the right to apply the iGen label to those born between the years of 1995 and 2012, the common factor being that all their conscious existence has been since the onset of the mobile phone and their teen years has been spent with the iPhone or smartphone equivalent.

The data used is well researched and well backed up by evidence and it creates some startling observations which are vital for anyone wishing to market to this group or create a business based on serving or employing them.

It is also impossible to read this book with a focus entirely on business, one’s mind automatically moves to people you know in this age bracket, the challenges of parenting and the overwhelming challenge for society.

The book challenges current perceptions of reality with facts that suggest that, far from freeing and enabling a generation, the immediate and continuous access to data has made the iGen cadre less willing to seek independence, less keen to grow up and less willing to take any responsibility.

There is a saddening centre part to this book which paints a dark world of depression, mental health issues, inactivity, isolation and declining social skills. This is not of value to the business angle we seek to highlight at Yorkshire Powerhouse other than to say this will in time spawn new and innovative business services which in the past were the province of basic parenthood but have now become a challenge requiring professional support.

Controversially, the book asserts that the iGen generation are in search of ‘safe’ activities and ‘protected’ environments, they eschew relationships, alcohol and drugs as being dangerous and this extends to those slightly risky physical activities that one would associate with sport and outdoor living.

Recognising that these trends are obviously positive in the main also covers the nuance that we are not just talking about an aversion to the use of substances, rather we are also talking about intellectual, social and emotional risks, the leaps of faith some people take, that lead them to their greatest adventures.

Marketers and employers think of this … generation iGen want the safety of home, everywhere.

In reviewing this, we so nearly concluded that the main value of this book is for those seeking to market to the iGen cadre, but then realised the greatest value is those seeking to employ and manage them. There is a marked switch towards phrases like “Work is nothing more than making a living” and a sense that they don’t want “jobs that take over their life.”

The role of the manager with young people is not only to teach them how to be valuable employees, but increasingly to teach them how to be successful adults. Managers will need to become therapists, life coaches or parents to the iGen generation.

There is unmistakable evidence that as the generations progress from the Baby Boomers of the 1960’s; young people do not want to work hard, and they are now not ashamed to say that. They want success, without the graft. Remember the phrase “Working is for old people”.

The good news for marketers and advertisers, is that despite not wanting to grow up or work, iGen does want to own stuff. Fashion is less of a pack mentality than it used to be, and individuality is OK.

Could a Yorkshire perspective improve this book?

Absolutely, the research is all American, that does not detract from the relevance or the findings, but the examples are tough to relate to for the born and bred Yorkshire person.

Review Takeaway:

If you have teenagers hooked to their phone then this book will make you supremely miserable. If they don’t have a phone yet, then reading the book should give you the strength to deny them and get them out on the moors sharpish. Yorkshire Powerhouse thinking,

Click here for a quick link to purchase iGen from Amazon

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