Why Millennials Must Be The Future But Adapt For The Present

Why Millennials Must Be The Future But Adapt For The Present

The generation faces a changing work environment, which author David Burstein explored in his book 'Fast Future' and in a conversation with PSFK.

Betsy Mead
  • 30 june 2013

“You Are The Future.” So writes David Burstein at the beginning of his publication, ‘Fast Future: How The Millennial Generation Is Shaping Our World.” This well-worn phrase has often been repeated at graduation speeches, conventions and one-on-one conversations between embittered kids and their parents. But Burstein raises another issue. The Millennial may be the future, but he or she is also the present, and needs to take charge of that responsibility.

As Burstein defines it, the Millennial Generation is composed of individuals born between 1980 and 1994, which, due to today’s population growth, compose about 1/3 of the global population. Because of today’s interconnected society, they are more in touch than their parents’ generation and even those before them. This group must, however, attend to the issue of adapting to and coping with the changes in the world and the environment that have come about due to the impact of technology and our increasing reliance on it.

The future of work is a particularly pressing issue. The subject is already up for debate. PSFK has conducted extensive research on the matter, producing a ‘Future Of Work‘ report replete with ways for bringing the physical work space up to speed with today’s fast-paced times. Burstein acknowledged the urgent need for modifications in a recent conversation with PSFK:

We are at a very unique moment for the Millennial generation. We have almost completed a shift in values of different industries, so it is clearer and clearer what this demands. We want open, conducive environments and we want work to be more integrated with life, and with a concern for the environment.

Companies such as Grind, which Benjamin Dyett, a speaker at PSFK CONFERENCE 2013, co-founded, have already seen how the physical layout of a workspace can affect employees’ productivity and the way they communicate and spread ideas with each other.

When it comes to the actual structure of companies, it seems that greater flexibility may be needed. Training Millennials to work and direct in a way that fits in with the developing workspace may pose a challenge to senior members, as Burstein mentioned, but it is necessary for ultimate productivity. More urgent is the need to ensure that various parts of companies are in dialogue with each other and to avoid bureaucracy that might prove a hindrance. Burstein himself appears to know this from experience:

Last year we worked with Comcast on a film, and wanted to issue a press release. But it had to be approved by the legal department, and then the marketing department, and because of all this bureaucracy the press release came out after we released the film! Putting all these systems in place, supposedly so that there is no risk, and everything is signed off on, is meant to avoid problems but in fact it had caused an inability to be nimble and adapt to the situation.

These changes in the workspace and the nature of work are being much discussed, but there is also the problem of perception. As work and life become digital, it’s important to afford importance to the online world and not merely brush it off as a spin off to traditional ways of thought and presentation. As industries move in this direction, Burstein underlines that it’s important for organizations to accept this idea and remold:

Some people think that digital is not proven yet and somehow less prestigious. You have ‘digital strategists,’ but you don’t have a ‘fax machine strategist!’ That this shift hasn’t been made yet is, to me, shocking. Clearly the Internet is here to stay and large companies are still figuring out how to integrate it into their daily operations, beyond having websites and email.

Burstein’s ‘Fast Future’ and his conversation with PSFK highlight problems that the Millennial faces and emphasizes the need to combat them and move with the changes that are taking place. It is up to the generation to act on this advice.

Fast Future: How The Millennial Generation Is Shaping Our World


Machine Printer Uses Coffee Drips To Create Intricate Portraits

Arts & Culture
Retail Today

Nine Technologies To Invest In When It Comes To Retail [Future Of Retail]

Retailers are leveraging assistive technology to help employees in their daily tasks and customers on the sales floor

Travel Today

Acura Cockpit Envisions The Future Of Autonomous Travel

The car brand has built a proof that offers a sneak peek of the self-driving vehicle experience


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Technology Today

Genetics Startup Is Working To Create A Completely Personalized, DNA-Based Range Of Products

DNA data has the potential to drive brands forward to new levels of unique product personalization

Retail Today

How Artificial Intelligence Is Enabling Anytime Shopping & On-Demand Support

Retailers are leveraging advanced technology to relieve associates from mundane tasks, while better assisting customers

Related Expert

Carl Goodman

Exhibition Design & Digital Media

Syndicated Today

NYC Map Calculates Economic Benefits Of Every Tree

TreesCount! maps all the greenery in the five boroughs and even figures out how much money it saves the city

Fashion Today

Create A Perfectly Tailored Shirt Using Just Your Phone

UKYS has created an application to get accurate measurements of buyers through a few simple pictures for custom shirts

Home Today

Tiny Home Robot Turns Switches On And Off

The miniature device attaches to the side of an appliance or switch to enable remote control through a person's phone


Future Of Retail 2017
Transformation Strategies For Customer-First Business

PSFK Op-Ed december 2, 2016

Customer Service Expert: Why Offline Retail Has Better Data Than Online Retail

Healey Cypher, Founder and CEO of Oak Labs, shares why we should be thinking about the physical store as an e-commerce site

PSFK Labs december 1, 2016

Retail Spotlight: Home Depot Reimagines How Employees Conduct Tasks

The home improvement retailer puts the customer first by initiating local fulfillment centers and simplifying freight-to-shelf inventory management

Technology december 2, 2016

Why Nest Doesn't Get The Holidays

PSFK founder reacts to the damaging effects of poor email marketing

Children december 2, 2016

Robots Could Be Joining Dubai’s Police Force In 2017

The real-life RoboCops can salute, shake hands and collect traffic fines

Travel december 2, 2016

Parka Hides And Charges Portable Devices

Bolt is a jacket that lets people carry and charge their various electronics without the need for an outlet

USA december 2, 2016

Twitter-Powered Metronome Measures The Tempo Of Austin

The installation is designed to swing faster as more tweet come in

Food december 2, 2016

Yelp's New 'Yelfie' Feature Lets Diners Take Selfies

The update is designed to encourage people to attach a selfie when they share their experiences


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

Food december 2, 2016

Build Your Own Savory Cheese Advent Calendar

A British food blogger has created a guide to building a different kind of holiday surprise

Fitness & Sport december 2, 2016

Floating Gym Concept In Paris Is Powered By Your Workout

The proposed design from Carlo Ratti Associati lets passengers ride a stationary bike as they travel through Paris along the Seine River

Syndicated december 2, 2016

What Does The Future Of Android Look Like In A World With The Pixel?

Google’s decision to make its own phone might have looked like a blow to the likes of Samsung but the reality is much more interesting

No search results found.