Weconomy

La piattaforma di ricerca Logotel dedicata all’economia collaborativa.
Un network internazionale aperto al confronto e alla collaborazione tra aziende.

Weconomy

Logotel's research platform focused on collaborative economy.
An international network open to exchange and collaboration among companies.

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Depuis 2010 la plateforme culturelle dédiée à l'innovation collaborative. Un écosystème ouvert à la comparaison et à la collaboration entre les entreprises. Rigoureusement 'Made in logotel' Ici une sélection d'articles, tous les autres sur www.weconomy.it.

Are new forms of collaboration possible?

Are new forms of collaboration possible? 30 March 2017

Here's the preview of the article by our Strategist and Manager of Design Cristina Favini, which introduces the issues related to Weconomy #11

Are new forms of collaboration possible?

Class of 74. The transition generation. Our X factor is our awareness of the transition between living in an analogue world to living in an analogue and digital reality. I read my email via Outlook, I rarely use the Cloud, and try to avoid Whatsapp as a work tool. In current jargon, I'm a digital immigrant; for my children, the ultimate progeny of Generation Z, I'm merely "slow".

I work in the here and now but I also have an eye on the future. Why am I telling you this? Because every time we try to pin down something as elusive as understanding the other, the people we work with (and for) we always run the risk of a one-sided point of view. I should explain that better. Generations are not new, but we're only just beginning to understand how complex they are and realize more than ever before, given the current speed of change, the huge cultural "divides" we face. There are six different generations (or five if two are lumped together) currently in the world, out on the street, crossing paths in the underground: the "Reconstruction" generation (born between 1926 and 1945), baby boomers, split into leading edge (born from 1946 to 1955) and trailing edge boomers (born from 1956 to 1965), the transition generation, also known as Generation X (born from 1966 to 1980), and the famous Millennial Generation, otherwise known as Millennials or Generation Y (born from 1981 to 1995). Finally, we also have the net generation, aka Generation Z (born between 1996 and 2015). Four generations are currently working in today's organisations but before long there will be more, partly because of the rising pension age and average lifetimes. This won't be the first or only news item about the generational gap. A few weeks ago there was a story in the news about a group of pensioners who clashed with some young people in the post office. The latter had used a time-saving app (probably designed by a millennial UX designer) to skip to the front of the queue. It is equally interesting to see that organisations, a mirror image of society, are breeding grounds for countless misunderstandings and clashes between generations. We expect staff to be motivated to stay with the organisation on the basis of our own experience without considering that Millennials have other interests that we have completely overlooked. The upshot is that turnover increases dramatically and not everyone identifies with the organisation. I met with a client recently and listened to how chatbot programmes (literally an algorithm which conducts a conversation between a robot and customers) will need new roles to be added and cause others to disappear. In our planning for the future we never once imagined such "techno-discrimination", a phenomenon which, in addition to affecting older sections of the population, also impacts a sizeable portion of the more disadvantaged Millennials, the ones without the means to keep up with the "flow". Indeed, these days it's interesting to see how we do "old things" in new ways, from buying tickets to doing the grocery shopping, moving around the city and work. Imagine what it will be like for Generation Z in 2030 when, with the help of robots (another generational species), they will also do things in new ways. At that stage, the transformation of habits on one hand and business ecosystems on the other, will be even more disjointed and rapid. That's not all: if the primary objective of an organisation these days is to sell goods, in the future it will increasingly be to sell the use of, or time with, products and positive experiences of every kind. This will alter the situation dramatically. "Contact" with customers will be increasingly a continual exchange of value, and therefore, of service delivery. Unfortunately, the planning process in many organisations is still anchored to old methods and the rigidity of their organisational structures, which assign generations to restrictive vertical categories, inhibiting the development of new ways of interacting, and thwarting relationships which could be dynamic, vibrant and, by definition, in constant evolution. Providing a service means responding to people's lives. Not from the outside, but from within. Mutating continuously, in every direction. Such mutation requires a special kind of alwayson responsiveness because standard and manual modes are no longer enough. People change, their needs and their 5 Cristina Favini Strategist & Manager of Design Logotel interpretation of them change, as do their actions and the contexts in which they are deployed. What will Generation Z be like in 50 years? Will Gen Z'ers have to work with machines? What will Millennial grannies and grandpas be like? Outlooks, thoughts and action must remain plastic and pliant, with a view, in particular, to honing the ability to deploy new generation "solutions". In order to do this, we must become people experts, well-versed in people's needs, behaviours and emotions; we must become collectors of their stories and of the ways they interact; we must broaden our outlook, make it sharper, more inclusive and capable of that rare quality that is interpretation. These are difficult skills to develop and practice in organisations. Which is why it is imperative that we use generations as an additional filter to gain a clearer insight, and to explore the preferences, motivations, aspirations and fears of, sizeable portions of the population. People who share the same times, places and activities but with different mindsets and outlooks, who need to find a way of advancing together despite their different backgrounds. Watch out, though, there's always the danger, as I mentioned earlier, of which point of view to choose. If you ask a baby boomer from the 46-55 period, they'll tell you that the younger generations are incapable to going beyond appearances. But did we when we were young? Millennials won't be young for ever. What's the limit? We all wear our generation like a tattoo and see others in terms of how they differ from ourselves, often flattening out the nuances and emphasizing only the extremes, the light or shadow. Reality is rich with nuance. Reality is multifarious, it's “multiverse”. Understanding generations is an excellent starting point that will help us to better comprehend our colleagues and our children, but it's not enough. Our only chance is to make sure we also offer environments, spaces, times and opportunities in which generational biodiversity is assured, where collaboration between generations can occur. Environments in which each person, with their own individual experiences and characteristics, are part of the process. It's the only way to avoid single points of view which exclude rather than enhance, the beauty of reality. So no more interfaces designed by young people for young people, no more executive boards open to top managers but not to conversation with other generations. Just as organisations can age, with the right mix and in the right hands, they can also rejuvenate. Biodiversity must be increased to bring into action new generational species. More than ever before, a balance has to be struck between generations that is not only pacific but also productive. The 11th issue of Weconomy has this issue as its theme: "Quid Novi? - Generations Working Together", literally "what's new?" The issue aims to start a broad conversation, specifying who exactly we are talking about when we talk about generations, and outline the similarities and differences between them. We have tried to inject the highest degree of biodiversity into the conversation, mixing up different skills and professions to assure multiple perspectives and vantage points: you will hear from someone who works with younger generations on a daily basis (a psychiatrist), someone who works with corporate managers (a professional trainer), someone who plans and creates services (an interaction designer), a designer of Made-in-Italy products for all generations, someone paid to imagine the future (a futurologist), someone who invents the future, working with AI (IBM research centre director), someone who makes cultural change happen in the workplace (HR manager and personnel recruitment and management director), someone who takes change to the world (Global HR Manager), someone who experiences change first-hand as an entrepreneur, someone who trains and teaches the new generations (a university professor) and someone who has just embarked on their corporate career. Collaboration between generations is an opportunity. The risk though is that the degrees of separation between motivation, types of relationship, language, and management of time and space, are so huge that there is no meeting point between them. Let's at least do what we can to set up a first date. Enjoy

 

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