Coffee Discussion: “How Boards can harness and benefit from the input of the Next Generation (NextGen)”.
During November, one of our Members Karin Schulte hosted the Coffee Meeting on the above subject.
We were surprised to find out that 2019 marks a global generational tipping point when Gen Z (those currently under 25 years old) will nudge ahead of the number of Millennials (those currently under 40 years old) and together they will account for 64% of the global population.
In the UK 2018 data estimates that currently 43% of the UK population are under 35. With almost 20% between 20 and 35 years of age.
It is therefore essential to ensure that businesses and organisations are harnessing the views and aspirations of the NextGen to remain relevant as we are living in such transformational times.
Technological innovations such as the internet have changed how we socialize, work, shop, bank, to name but a few areas. Artificial intelligence will most likely bring another wave of rapid technological innovation.
Alongside technological change, climate change is driving transformation in areas such as energy resources, plastic usage, travel, farming, food consumption etc… all focusing on sustainability.
The NextGen, particularly Gen Z and younger Millennials are true digital and social media natives, they are the most ethnically mixed generation globally and have a strong values set, research indicates that social impact is just as important to them as profit.
So, if you are running a Board and Business how do you begin to engage the NextGen to ensure your organisation remains relevant?
One simple way is to ensure your current Board has age diversity.
Alternatively, a couple of other ways are:
Next Generation Advisory Committees
Real examples were discussed such as the experiences of Gucci and Prada. Gucci engaged with millennials via a younger employees Board that fed into the main Board, apparently their insights were a ‘wake up call to senior executives’ and helped shaped marketing strategy, strategies which are credited with helping Gucci improve sales. Over the same period Prada did not engage digitally and lost market share.
A Board Member and younger individual can be teamed up with insight and support flowing both ways, a key aim for the usually older Board Member is to gain insights into the NextGen mindset and digital world.
As Board Directors and Business Owners, we can’t afford to ignore such a large percentage of the population and all the new and diverse thinking that is associated with our Next Generation.
Caroline Hayward and Karin Schulte
If you wish to find out more you can contact Member Karin directly here or on Linked In.
You can join The Chairman’s Network at www.chairmansnetwork.com
 2018 Bloomberg analysis of United Nations data.
 2019 June Harvard Business Review – Younger Employee Boards