Everyone says coronavirus and the resulting deep recession will change everything. The Great Pause and the Great Restoration of the last weeks will finally make us a more caring, united and responsible community.
They are wrong. The double-crisis of the virus and the recession aren’t a revolution. But they are a radical acceleration of trends we have observed for many years now. Trends, signals and slight changes that have an effect on nature, society, business and brands. Things are evolving at a remarkable rate. There is no guarantee we won’t go back to where we were before, with deep divisions of wealth, climate change, pollution and extremism. But there is a future that we can look forward to, a future that is entirely credible if the foundations and preconditions are guaranteed.
A future that is fostered by the present we are all living in now. The present that has made us more conscious about changes that are beyond the paradigm of the old Generation thinking that you must be part of the age group you are born in. The present that has made us all feel more connected as if we are all part of the same Generation, regardless of our age. We call this Generation Co.
We believe that the future will be Generation Co. Generation Co will be con-scious, con-nected, col-laborative, com-munal and co-creative. Generation Co are co-producers of brands in their choices of who they support, and they will demand that governments, businesses and brands will show the com-pass that guides Generation Co. Unlike the previous Generation thinking, Generation Co is not defined by age, but a common set of values: whether one is 80, 60, 40 or 20, one is part of this Generation if one shares its conscience. With enough members of this generation, it will generate huge power to change how brands, businesses and societies operate.
In the next issues, we will zoom in into four different perspectives in which we can see Generation Co operating. We will look at business, brands, society and nature.
Generation Co will have its own set of expectations—as community members, employees, consumers, and investors—for the future role of business that business would best listen to. Where and how work will be done for office and essential workers, trust between a manager and employee, the relationships between business and key partners & suppliers, the purpose of face-to-face meetings, what value is created, and how the future of industries should be led are all on the table. As the growth of inequity has also been under the spotlight with COVID-19, any mismatch between business action and Generation Co expectations will surely lead to a vocal response by the latter.
One of the positive side-effects of COVID-19 has been to bring people closer together to tackle important social and economic challenges. Not only do people now have the means to connect with each other, individuals and groups, both locally and globally have taken responsibility to improve the way we work and live. Supportive governments have taken note and encouraged this co-creative approach to a better future.
We believe Generation Co will seek a humbler relationship with nature and our ecosystem, and from this will flow many possible ways forward. Respecting nature, we will better understand its principles, the functioning of its ecosystem and our proper place within it. This will boost our physical and mental health, as well as doing justice to the planet.
Generation Co will demand that brands will have to meet six criteria to fulfil its trust:
1. Creating value for all
2. Having a transformative purpose and humanistic principles
3. Taking a long-term perspective
4. Being more participative and inclusive
5. Showing inspiring leadership
6. Creating new measures of success
In these uncertain times, no one knows what the future will be like. However, by imagining it, we can influence it. We need leaders who empathize with the Generation Co. We need leaders who aspire to transform the world while doing business. We need leaders who are more human, humble, compassionate and responsible. We need leaders who can imagine the conscientious organizations of the future and make them a reality.
● Covid 19 is not a revolution, but rather an accelerated evolution. Many trends we observed already are being accelerated massively—home and remote working, deliveries to home, greater attention to fundamental health and wellbeing, social divisions.
● Covid 19 will be with us a long time and we aren’t “returning to normal”. In the words of Justin Trudeau and many others, we are moving to a “new normal”. It isn’t predestined what “new normal” looks like. It has many possible forms. We can help to shape the conditions for a future we believe is positive.
● We believe a new Generation will emerge … Generation Co, a connected, conscious, co-creative generation not defined by age but shared values and consciousness
● Generation Co will experience same enormous pressures globally—finances, social distancing, how we work—they are physically separated but digitally connected. The last weeks have changed our attitudes, our behaviours and the demands we have for business and brands. It is the co that will lead our generation in the present and the near future.
● We know that the co will lead us from cooperation and collaboration to co-creation. We have to build this future together in a global systems co-thinking manner, to connect nature, society, business and brands. Generation Co will be con-scious, con-nected, col-laborative, com-munal, co-creative. Specifically…
● Generation Co will be better connected to themselves, each other and their natural world:
o More attention to food and nutrition
o More attention to well-being, hygiene and “immunology” (obese are dying more, need for hygiene in service, production and supply chain etc.)
o More awareness of fragile nature and ecosystem around us (extraction, pollution, relation to animals)
● Generation Co will be more collaborative and communal in their society and community:
o How to deal with deep social divisions from Covid 19; employed vs unemployed, secure vs insecure
o More focus on locality, local community
o More expectation of state and regulation; growth in “conscious leaders”
● Generation Co will be better connected and co-create with business and the big brands:
o Brands with a conscience will be king. Con-scious (aware) to con-science (purpose, connectedness, all stakeholders)
o Not just the big globalized corporations, but also businesses at the heart of community
o More two-way and multi-way engagement. Conscience is shared, not just communicated to consumers.
● Generation Co accepts that business have to make money and profit. But the future is Planet, People, Profit.