What I Can Expect from My Gen Z Grandchildren’s World

As I tend to do with a lot of Friday’s 27gen posts, I try to look at the world around us through the lens of the five generations currently in my immediate family of 20: 2 Boomers, 2 Gen X, 6 Millennials, 2 Gen Z, and 8 Alpha Generation (the “unofficial,” but popular name for those born since 2010).

Today, a quick dive into a fascinating book: Zconomy, by Jason Dorsey and Denise Villa. Dorsey and Villa are the president and CEO, respectively, of the Center for Generational Kinetics (CGK). The insights in Zconomy are based on the authors’ extensive global research, presentations, and consulting work.

Gen Z’s expectations are so different because they are so different from other generations. They are the first to lead fully digital lives. They are being raised by parents affected by past events such as 9/11 and the Great Recession, as well as contemporary realities from the COVID-19 pandemic to online gaming, Brexit, and presidential politics.

They are connected to the world, and one another, across continents and across town using technology that for them has always been available. They have strong and vocal opinions about social issues from student load debt and gun control to equality and climate change. And for the first time in history, digital media has given a generation this young the power to instantly bolster (or derail) global brands, become activist, and influence how companies do business – sometimes with a single tweet, post, or cell phone video.

We’ve heard loud and clear from Gen Z that they are not Millennials 2.0.

Gen Z is older than most people think, with the oldest members already up to age twenty-four in 2020. This large, diverse, connected-from-birth generation is soon to be the fastest growing generation in the workforce.

To understand just how different Gen Z worldview are from even Millennials, take these two quick examples:

  • Gen Z does not remember 9/11. They learned about it in history class, from a parent recalling the experience, or on a YouTube video. As a result, Gen Z can’t recall the feeling of fear and uncertainty that came as this event was unfolding – which made it the defining moment of the Millennial generation.
  • Gen Z has come of age with the COVID-19 pandemic creating fear, uncertainty, vulnerability, and confusion. The pandemic has caused massive disruption in schools, work, travel, politics, family, and much more. While the long-term implications of the COVID-19 pandemic remain to be seen, it is already clear that this is the defining moment of the generation thus far.

With the pace of change and breakthroughs accelerating, the future in which Gen Z will navigate adulthood for the next fifty-plus years will be unlike any that previous generations experienced. 

Looking ahead twenty- and thirty-plus years, here are 10 Disruptive Trends the Center for Generational Kinetics thinks will likely influence Gen Z for decades to come:

  1. Car and Transportation Evolution
  2. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
  3. Aging Population and Generational Transition
  4. AI, IoT, Connected Devices, and Consumer Tech
  5. Workforce Automation
  6. Medical Breakthroughs
  7. Consumer Space Travel
  8. Global Challenges
  9. Blockchain
  10. College Transformation

All of the trends, breakthroughs, challenges, and innovations will dramatically shape and alter the beliefs and expectations of Gen Z. This will happen in a much deeper, faster, and more integrated way than when personal computers altered Gen X or smartphones connected Millennials or the web and social media bridged continents instantly.

For more information:

Inspired and adapted from Zconomy by Jason Dorsey and Denise Villa


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