Gen-D and Gen-I: The Future of Digital Innovation
For those not already in the know, Generation D (also known as the Digital Generation) is a slightly vague concept but tends to count those people born after the year 1995, whilst Generation I counts those after 2002. Both generations have grown up completely immersed in technology, integrating digital culture seamlessly into their lives. For them, using the internet, touchscreen phones, apps and tablets is second nature. They use it much as they would a door handle or tea cup.
What do They Bring to the World?
Because of this familiarity, these generations are true innovators. Rather than struggling to grasp how to use all the different technologies at their fingertips, like us, the under-18s look past this and want to develop and improve things. According to Tom Chatfield, author of How to Thrive in the Digital Age, “‘Digital natives will have a constant layer of effortless augmentation in their lives as they grow up. Their habits will be fundamentally different from those who grew up switching technology on and off for individual tasks.’ For them, email is old news. They hunger for faster, more immediate modes of communication. Combine this appetite for innovation with the British government’s plan to make coding skills a key part of the school curriculum of the future, and you can start to see the potential for innovation.
Appealing to High Demands
Naturally this mind-set is already being noted by various brands and companies, who want to make their products more appealing to the younger, more tech-savvy audience. Consider the rise in apps specifically designed for children; such as the Flip Boom Cartoon app, which enables young users to make their own animations and send them to friends in seconds for just $2.99 a download. Similarly, the UK’s biggest gaming export for children, Moshi Monsters, was developed (albeit five years ago) for generation D and I. The online gaming network allows users to build their own digital character, make friends and learn online in a safe environment. Global sales have just reached £160 million and the company has 80 million users, almost double the level of two years ago. Clearly it’s doing something right.
Innovation in Their own Hands
On the flip side, these generations are already showing potential to innovate themselves. Just a few months ago, 17-year-old teenage Nick D’Aloisio sold his iPhone app Summly to internet giant Yahoo for a reported £19 million. The app summarises news stories, has been downloaded by nearly a million people, and was created by Nick on his laptop in his bedroom at home. The idea came when he realised there was a “massive gap” between news links on Twitter and the full-length story. A sure sign that the frustration of unsatisfied digital natives can and will continue to lead to innovative things. Yahoo must agree as they’ve just given Nick a full-time job. Whilst hiring teenage entrepreneurs won’t be the right thing for everyone, businesses of all types should definitely be sitting up and paying attention to generations D and I. Not only are they your future employees but they are also a growing customer-base.