Editorial: Millennial makeover

If you have attended a conference in the past year, you have probably heard a speaker talk about young people. Just last week, Michelle Mark, an associate professor of management at George Mason University’s School of Management, spoke about Generation Y at the annual Management of Change conference. And at 1105 Government Information Group’s Government Leadership Summit earlier this month, we presented a panel of young people who talked about how they use technology.

People, particularly in government, are focused on the younger generations because of a realization that young people are increasingly entering the government workforce. Many of us are in awe and fear of these hyper-connected young people, many of whom never knew the pre-Internet world.

But we also like to think that people are interested in the next generations because they bring an element of hope — a hope that networked young people can help fix some of the culture challenges that have plagued agencies.

It is always difficult to talk about younger generations without resorting to stereotypes. However, that being said, what we know about young people is that they join organizations because they believe in the work they do. They join out of a desire to make a difference. They are eager for feedback. Collaboration is a part of how they do business.

Government 2.0 is going to happen because that is the way the world is changing. Increasingly, young people come from a culture where they can do more with their iPhones than with many government systems.

We believe there is a real opportunity in Government 2.0. We believe that government — perhaps more than many other organizations — can benefit from a new era of collaboration.

Young people are eager to learn, and they are looking for a challenge. But will the government provide an environment where agencies can tap into new ways of thinking about issues and new ways of doing business, or will agencies stick to the ways the government has always done its work?

We believe there are real opportunities for government in the coming years, and we hope agencies and their leaders are ready to take advantage of those opportunities.

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