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Millennial Engagement Dominates SAP’s “Conversations on the Future of Business”

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On Wednesday SAP held its event, “Conversations on the Future of Business”, at MetLife Stadium for nearly 100 employees and clients, with presentations on how businesses can enhance growth in the years ahead. Not surprisingly, several presenters focused on how to engage and attract the next big generation of consumers and workers: millennials.

Yes, as the millennial generation continues to grow older and larger – ultimately projected to be up to 75 percent of the global population and workforce by 2025 – many companies and businesses are still figuring out how to best interact with and attract the millennial generation – not only as consumers, but as creative and innovative workers as well.

Fortunately, many of the presentations at “Conversations on the Future of Business” addressed this issue. It began early with Don Tapscott – a popular consultant, speaker and author of the book Wikinomics – who referred to millennials as “The Net Generation” and admired their surprising ability to communicate and innovate on a global scale. Tapscott’s group recently conducted a study of 11,000 millennials from 11 different countries – partly funded by SAP – which helped him conclude that the millennial generation has much to give the global economy as long as businesses give them a chance. Tapscott admitted he is hopeful about millennials finding their place in the world, saying, “I’ve never been more optimistic in my life.”

This optimism continued with Josh Linkner, Founder and CEO of Detroit Venture Partners, who incorporated several humorous videos and commercials into his presentation. The goal in doing so, according to Linkner, was to show how different kinds of advertising – specifically ads utilizing humor – can help brand businesses to millennials. “[Millennials] are an increasingly important market segment,” Linkner said. “Knowing their tastes and preferences is critical. Humor gives people an opportunity for creative expression and is a very powerful technique that should be used more in the business world. People remember humor, they can connect with it and they tend to be more creative when they’re smiling.”

Lastly, Jacob Morgan, a consultant and author of the book The Collaborative Organization, spoke to the crowd about creating a work environment that is conducive to the millennial generation. Speaking about how the old 9-5 work world is changing, Morgan said that millennials like to work in environments that allow them to be flexible, creative and innovative on their own time. Calling it “The New Foreign Way to Work”, he stressed the importance of businesses meeting millennials’ needs, as if they don’t, talented millennial workers will likely just seek other employment opportunities. “Millennials are the future of the workforce,” Morgan said. “How is someone like this going to work for your company? Or will they even want to?”

Continue the conversation on the Future of Business here.


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