It's an amazing time to be alive. For the first time in human history, FIVE generations are living and working alongside each other. Never has mutual understanding been so vital. Let's work together to break down unnecessary barriers, live harmoniously and learn from different perspectives.
Why does this interest me? For almost 20 years I've shared a home with my mother-in-law. We've lived happily in a three-generation household … middle-aged parents, two young adult offspring and octogenarian grandmother. That alone, has provided some amazing insights on a day to day basis. Coupled with the ups and downs of a long career in marketing & management (leading teams of all ages) and my insatiable curiosity, I’m absolutely fascinated to see how these differences in the generations affect us all today.
According to those in sales, marketing, advertising and policy making, it matters what era you were born into. It really matters and they invest small fortunes on research trying to better understand what makes us tick so that they can influence our everyday choices, needs and spending decisions.
There are different categories in use worldwide but, according to the respected Washington-based Pew Research Centre, there are five living generational groups.
These definitions are just tools to help work out how the different age groups are experiencing the world, but could we all learn something from the fascinating information they unearth? I think so. I think it’s worth “minding the gap” in a lighthearted and positive way.
Better to understand the differences together, rather than subscribing to the view that the different generations will always be at loggerheads. Surely that’s not inevitable?
Sandra J Burke OBE FRSA is an award-winning marketer and one of the founder members of the successful Dundee, City of Discovery campaign. After a varied and successful career with Scottish Enterprise, the Care Commission, in small business and latterly as Chamber of Commerce chief executive, she was awarded an OBE in 2015 for outstanding services to economic development and social care in Scotland. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts and also an ambassador, mentor and volunteer for several charities tackling issues close to her heart. Lively, warm and friendly, Sandra is an ever-curious, continuously learning "Baby Boomer".