© 2023 WRVO Public Media
NPR News for Central New York
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

How the millennial generation could shape the future


The millennial generation will save us all, according to a couple of Le Moyne graduates who have authored books on the subject. The pair brought their perspective to Syracuse this week.

One of the cliches about the millennial generation, is that as children, they all got trophies, no matter how well they did on a team. And while that is derided by some, for John Zogby, it’s the key to how they are changing the way the way our institutions work.

"The upside of that is that they all learned teamwork from that. And they accentuate the team. And they want to be judged by how they contributed to the team," he said.

Zogby, director of the Keenan Center for Entrepreneurism at Le Moyne and author of “First Globals Understanding, Managing and Unleashing our Millennial Generation” sees this generation making a more substantial change to society than generational shifts of the past. He says the old pattern of dealing with problems from the top down is not working with the deep-seated and intractable issues facing us today. The difference with the millennials, says Zogby, is they’ve learned the art of collaboration.

"They don’t move things up the chain and wait forever for the bureaucracy to decide. Their channels are horizontal. They go to each other. They believe in the wisdom of the crowd, and the social network, which is faster, more efficient, brings many more people into the process, and ultimately builds a consensus,” said Zogby.

Todd Corley, author of “Fitch Path, a Cautionary Tale about a Moose, Millennials, Leadership and Transparency,” says he’s already seen this kind of problem solving in business, and he says the key that makes it truly transformation is the digital revolution.

“Because there’s no turning back with the advent of technology and how fast and how regularly they’re stimulated on devices or platforms, they’re looking to always be active learners and engaged in doing things in a way that’s very different from years past,” said Corley.

The definition of millennials varies, but includes people born in the 1980s, to people born shortly after 2000. The group currently makes up a third of the U.S. work force. Corley says the other trait they bring to the table is they have grown up more open to other cultures and lifestyles.

"Where this is going to save us, is it’s going allow us to gradually hand over the reins to a generation that is optimistic about how we can all be.” successful in a world that is nonjudgmental and an open community.”

Zogby say millennials’ potential impact on U.S. politics is coming at a time when the standard political party strategies are not working as well as they used to.

"We’re talking about young people who will have less faith in a political party and more faith in their capacity to do petition drives, their capacity to march, their capacity for social networks to change, their capacity to get 13 million people to give $10, as opposed to 10 people to give $13 million.” 

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.