Vol. 11, Issue 35
Week of October 20, 2008
In This Issue
Feature: Generation We: How the Millennial Generation Is Taking Over America and Changing the World
Publisher’s Note: Not long ago, I was at a FORTUNE Brainstorm conference at which Newsweek editor David Gergen, then also teaching at Harvard, spoke briefly about his experiences. “Don’t worry about young people,” he told us (and I am paraphrasing). “They are great people, with the ability and drive to work together to solve tomorrow’s problems. There is only one way we can mess up: by discouraging them. They don’t need to hear from us about the infinitely horrible condition of the world we are handing over to them.”
Everything I have seen about this generation – including all of the work I have done as CEO of SNS Project Inkwell (www.projectinkwell.com) – indicates to me that Gergen is right,
Although I don’t know Karl Weber, who is eminently qualified by past experience to have taken on the challenge of organizing and co-authoring Generation We (see author bios below), I have had the pleasure of encountering Eric Greenberg nearly everywhere philanthropy crosses the road of science. He is often a participant in our Future in Review conference, and I once spent a couple of days with him at Larry Brilliant’s Pandemic II meeting in the Valley.
In doing the survey work behind this book, in writing the book and making it freely available on the Net, and in proposing his “Project FREE” challenge agenda for the Millennial generation, Eric is doing exactly what David Gergen would, I think, most applaud. He is asking, not telling; helping, not controlling; and, most important, providing a positive, and not a negative, set of choices for the future.
The children of today in this country, and perhaps around the world, have arrived as though by some Just In Time manufacturing miracle. Following a few generations that moved from outright greed, through the selfless-turned-yuppie Boomers, to self-focused GenME, to antisocial GenX, we suddenly find ourselves surrounded by children who: believe in community service, own passports and have traveled internationally (when money allows), often have friends in other countries, have an innate grasp of technology, and are deeply committed to improving the environment.
Whether you are in the business of product design and marketing or the technology of education, you will want to read Eric’s and Karl’s work closely. The world is about to change, again, and Just In Time. – mra.