Talking about Millennials and progress

7 May 2009 at 4:18 pm 1 comment


Yannis Kavounis, the head of our Millenials Knowledge Venturing team, talks to Tom Ding

Tom: Yannis, I have been meaning to ask you about Millenials and the recession…

Yannis: Recession, anxiety, layoffs… I’m personally exhausted from all the speculation and debate around it. Let’s talk about something more uplifiting: change and our future.

Tom: Sure. But where will the change come from?

Yannis: Well, not from government and politicians. They are only trying to resolve the problem using the same tools and context that caused it. So what’s left? Us – ordinary people, and Millennials of course. Millennials are connected and aware of the power of the collective. They have the technological and creative tools to take risks. And most importantly they’re young, not jaded and realise that grassroots overhaul of our economy and values is the only way forward.

Tom: I have seen a few diffferent versions of Millennials and Generation Y, what is your definition?

Yannis: At The Futures Company we say Millennials are the cohort of people born between 1979 and 1992, or roughly those aged between 16 and 29 at the moment.

Tom: OK. So give me some examples of these new values you talk about…

Yannis: So, for instance, I love how some of us are still rooting for ownership (intellectual or physical) as a fundamental principle of our economy. Well, guess what, Millennials are teaching us that modern business models can be based on more fluid and open concepts such as access and open source. Think of a world where you don’t ‘own’ but you ‘share’ – as and when you need to. Who needs iTunes when you have Spotify?

Tom: Yes and everyone I know has started using Spotify all of a sudden. I read that they just got their millionth subscriber in the UK, around the same time that the billionth application was downloaded for the iPhone – which I guess is open development, if not true open source. But is all this generational change about technology?

Yannis: Well, hasn’t generational change always been about technology, through every stage of human evolution? The interesting thing about current technology is how Millennials are using it and the role it plays in their lives. For them, it’s the means to an end, not the end itself – it is the greatest facilitator of societal change at the moment. I see Millennials as the generation that will use technology to help us enter a new age of realisation … be that in the economy, consumerism, or through our social values.

The picture is borrowed, with thanks, from

(edit: The Futures Company definition of Millenials is those born from 1979 to 1992, not 1982 to 1992 as originally written – a typo, apologies)

Entry filed under: consumers, digital, economic downturn, innovation, millennials. Tags: , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Andy Stubbings  |  13 May 2009 at 11:56 am

    Hmmm, intriguing stuff… I can see how the movement away from physical ownership to “life on demand” will continue, with Millennials at the forefront. But I wonder, with the news that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is due to charge for online access for newspapers ( whether this movement will stick with us when it can be paid for in a way that doesn’t just involve advertising. As “life on demand” becomes a more accepted way of doing thisng, will people be more willing to pay for it?


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The Futures Company was created through the merger of Henley Centre HeadlightVision and Yankelovich in 2008. This is the blog of the new company - but the former posts from the former Henley Centre Headlightvision blog still can be found here.

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