Defining The Generations Based On Technology Era

Ted Schadler

by Ted Schadler

Our last post on Gen X using Web 2.0 at work generated a lot of buzz in other blog posts, particularly at ReadWriteWeb.

One of the biggest comments had to do with how generations are defined.

At Forrester, we spent about a month looking at this question back in 2006 when we did our first generational analysis of the use of technology. (We've since updated that work in "The State Of Consumers And Technology: Benchmark 2008" -- available to Forrester clients.)

The more we looked, the more we realized that nobody frickin' knows. So we did what we comes naturally -- we researched it. We canvassed the universe. We read all the books and talked to a bunch of experts, mostly from the Agency world, where they know a thing or two about generations.

Since nobody had a definitive set, we create them based on blended average of the best references out there. Then we added a Forrester twist: What technology era does it correspond to? (Meaning, when they were teenagers, what technology was new to them.)

  • Gen Y: 1980-1991. This group started spending money in the mobile era -- it's still their defining characteristic. Mobile texting, making party plans on the fly while out, carrying their identity around in their phones, that's Gen Y. They don't think twice, they just do it. This group would love to use social media at work, but mobile's good enough for now thank you very much. They are 50% more likely to text while at work as Gen X (51% versus 36%.) As far as showing the rest of us the path forward, it's probably leading by example at this point in their careers.

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Analysis from Microsoft TechEd 2009 - Take 2

Tim Sheedy

So I have now spent a couple of days at TechEd - attending sessions when possible, and meeting with some Microsoft executives to discuss their strategies in more detail, I have also spoken with the "real" attendees at the event when possible (after sessions, in coffee queues, etc) to get their take on the proceedings.

As hypothesized in my first blog post, my first impressions were correct. Microsoft is a much more positive organisation - no longer apologising for its past sins (Vista, Windows Mobile 6 etc) but looking forward to better times where solid and reliable platforms, such as Windows 7 and Windows Mobile 6.5 will help their customers to make better use of the great platofrms that already exist within their customer base (such as Exchange, SQL Server. Windows Server and SharePoint).

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US Government Expects Large Number of Baby Boomers To Leave the Workforce

Claire Schooley

Claire-Schooley By Claire Schooley

A government report published September 3, 2009 (and reviewed in a Washington Post article titled “Federal Government Needs Massive Hiring Binge”) reports on a detailed study of US Government positions that will become open requisitionss as Baby Boomers retire over the next four years. This concern about large numbers of government retirees is not new but this study makes some stark predictions that are eye-catching.

 

Top 10 Areas of Government Hiring in Next Four Years

 

Professional Field

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Podcast: The Millennials, The Next Power Generation In The Workforce

Claire Schooley

Our latest featured podcast is Claire Schooley's "The Millennials, The Next Power Generation In The Workforce".

 

In this podcast, BP&A Senior Analyst Claire Schooley discusses the rise of the millenial in the workforce — and strategies for most effectively using their skills.

 

 

We look forward to your questions and comments.

 

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The Generations React During Our Teleconference on “Gen Y and the Future of the Workplace”

Claire Schooley

Claire-Schooley By Claire Schooley


TJ Keitt
, Heidi Lo and I presented a Forrester Teleconference about the Millennial or GenY on September 2, 2009. The multi-generational chat was by far the most active I’ve seen during a Teleconference with over 100 entries in an hour. TJ and I presented for a half hour and then opened the phone lines for voice questions. Heidi handled the tweets. Having two co-presenters helped us to participate in the chat. Because the pace of chat was so fast with so many conversations, participants were reacting to comments of others rather than just responding to a presenter comment or question. It was dynamic and truly community generated.

The premise of the teleconference was that the youngest generation in the workforce (Gen Y or Millennials) is neither revolutionizing the workforce (yet) nor acting as entitled employees. Some of the highlights of the participant interaction follow:

  • “It’s hard to get a job because as a new grad we can’t meet the ‘years of experience’ requirement.” Recommendation: Apply anyway. Be tenacious and prove that you can do the job. One Baby Boomer participant is about to start a company that mentors new employees at corporate customers to address this “experience” requirement. Another GenYer suggested using your social network to reach the hiring manager. Another said that that GenXers in an organization can be excellent mentors for the GenYers.
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The Generations React During Our Teleconference On “Gen Y And The Future Of The Workplace”

Claire Schooley

Claire-Schooley by Claire Schooley

TJ Keitt, Heidi Lo and I presented a Forrester Teleconference about the Millennial or GenY on September 2, 2009. The multi-generational chat was by far the most active I’ve seen during a Teleconference with over 100 entries in an hour. TJ and I presented for a half hour and then opened the phone lines for voice questions. Heidi handled the tweets. Having two co-presenters helped us to participate in the chat. Because the pace of chat was so fast with so many conversations, participants were reacting to comments of others rather than just responding to a presenter comment or question. It was dynamic and truly community generated.

The premise of the teleconference was that the youngest generation in the workforce (Gen Y or Millennials) is neither revolutionizing the workforce (yet) nor acting as entitled employees. Some of the highlights of the participant interaction follow:

  • “It’s hard to get a job because as a new grad we can’t meet the ‘years of experience’ requirement.” Recommendation: Apply anyway. Be tenacious and prove that you can do the job.  One Baby Boomer participant is about to start a company that mentors new employees at corporate customers to address this “experience” requirement. Another GenYer suggested using your social network to reach the hiring manager. Another said that that GenXers in an organization can be excellent mentors for the GenYers.
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Application Development Professionals Must Take The User Experience Bull By The Horns

Mike Gualtieri

Developers can write efficient and elegant code.

  • Architects can choose cost effective and flexible platforms.
  • Quality assurance and testing pros can make sure it works bug free.
  • Business analysts can uncover and document key requirements.
  • Project managers can craft a plan to get the app written on-time.
  • Managers can make sure that it is all done within the budget.
  • CIO's can find talent and put together teams.

This Prowess Is All For Naught If You Don't Get The User Experience Right!

But, this technical, process, and management prowess is all for naught if you cannot design a compelling user experience (UX) that is useful, usable, and desirable.

Ux_definition

Application Development Pros Are No Less Capable Of Learning UX Design Than Anyone Else.

Unfortunately, many application development professionals are unlearned when it comes to knowing how to design user experiences that makes users say "Wow!". It is not that they don't want to design great user experiences. They do. It is just that no one ever taught them how.

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A Day In The Life Of An Information Worker

Ted Schadler

Ted-Schadler by Ted Schadler

How do information workers -- people that use computers or smartphones in their job -- spend their days?

We set out to answer that question using our new Workforce Technographics(R) data. In our launch survey to understand how regular people use computers, smartphones, and applications to get their work done, we surveyed 2,001 people in the US with jobs in which they use a computer. We asked about all kinds of things, including how much time they spend with their computers and phones, which applications they use daily or even hourly, what applications they find indispensable, whether they work mostly with other employees or with customers or partners, and much more.

Our first report is a quick snapshot of a day in the life of an information worker (iWorker). (We'll be sharing a lot more data at a Webinar on Thursday at 11 AM ET; register here.) For example, did you know that:

  • Gen X (not Gen Y) is the most likely to use Web 2.0 technology to get their job done?

  • Smartphones are available to only 11% of US information workers?

  • Email is still the only application used on an hourly basis by most iWorkers?

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Analysis from Microsoft TechEd 2009 - Take 1

Gen Y and the Future of the Workplace: Recapping Our Discussion With Forrester Clients

TJ Keitt

Followers of my posts on this blog have seen a consistent theme: what does the influx of young workers mean for the present and future business world? Yesterday afternoon my colleagues Clarie Schooley and Heidi Shey joined me in hosting 82 Forrester clients for an open and frank discussion on this topic. The conversation, which included participants across the age spectrum, was spirited and landed on a few broad concepts:

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