I find young people amazingly ignorant. I also find them smarter than I was at 24. They don’t seem to read but, as a group, they are sharper than in my generation. They understand business. I guess we were a bit naïve and idealistic. It is easy to laugh at them for their obsession with sending vacuous messages via Twitter but then they surprise me volunteering to help villages in Cambodia. Part of me feels sorry for them because they missed out on a childhood close to nature particularly in Singapore where I currently live (The Singapore Prime Minister devoted part of his National Day speech to implore ambitious parents to give their children time to play!).
Yet another part of me is envious. I have sat on the Advisory Board of two Polytechnics so I have first-hand knowledge of how much is invested in education. The Polytechnics and Universities in Singapore have equipment and resources which fully match and sometimes exceed the industry outside. The students preparing for jobs in communications or design have access to fully-equipped sound stages and can get design projects made up with the help of technicians and state-of-the art machinery. They are given the opportunity to travel overseas to study and observe.
A young lady from a PR agency looked puzzled last week when her client and I discussed the days when the agencies did not have computers. She is part of the new generation that has grown up with digital technology and transits smoothly into every innovation.
This new generation understands the power of digital communities. They embrace interaction; they are not passive. In the new world of marketing which swiftly sweeping aside old paradigms, we have new professionals entering and soon to lead our industry. I will write next week about the shake-up in our industry and society which will require us to be open to change. The young generation is ready. Are you?