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Millennials want Technology for Good

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Technology has helped to empower and inform a generation of millennials. As a result, they are in a unique position to help meet some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

Today, millennials – those born after 1980 – are the largest generation in the world. In the US, they are even larger than the baby-boomer generation. Many historic events have already happened during their livetimes; they have witnessed the prosperity of the 90’s dot-com, and the financial downturn in 2008. They witnessed 9/11, the Arab Spring, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, an earthquake in Haiti, tsunami and typhoons in New Orleans, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, and many other disasters.

The internet has meant that millennials are the first truly global and informed generation ever. They are digital natives, they share experiences across cultures and geography using technology. And they are more connected by ICT (through internet, mobile and social media) than any generation before them.

ICT has truly created a tremendous awareness in the world and particularly among millennials about global, societal problems including poverty, nutrition, healthcare, water, energy and sanitation.

According to a US survey from Pew research center, “80 percent of millennials want to work for companies that care about their impacts”. A recent Deloitte 2014 millennial global survey revealed that millennials want to work for organizations that foster innovative thinking, develop their skills, and make a positive contribution to society.

Millennials have an ever-growing awareness of global challenges that they think governments and NGO’s are unable to meet. At the same time, they believe that businesses are perceived to be prospering at the expense of broader communities. And millennials want to change this by joining companies that create solutions that address global sustainability challenges.

Today, millennials represent a pool of talent and future leaders that businesses would like to attract. To do this, businesses must listen to their message, and understand how they think.

The Deloitte report revealed also that, “Millennials are eager to make a difference. Millennials believe the success of a business should be measured in terms of more than just its financial performance, with a focus on improving society among the most important things it should seek to achieve. Millennials are also charitable and keen to participate in ‘public life’: 63 percent of Millennials donate to charities, 43 percent actively volunteer or are a member of a community organization, and 52 percent have signed petitions.” It is clear then, that millennials want to be part of a movement for change.

An example of the kind of initiative that I believe demonstrates the possibilities for organizations to make a difference is our own Technology for Good program. It demonstrates that positive change is achievable through public-private partnerships when combined with an active employee volunteer program. It can enable them to live up to their social and professional ambitions in perfect harmony with both the needs of their generation, and the needs of the world today.

Written by Sami Dob

Sami is Program Director, Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility, for the Ericsson Group worldwide. An engineer and economist, he is interested in innovative business solutions that make great social impact. Also an advocate of redefining the practice of capitalism, Sami believes that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can play an important role in addressing global challenges in areas such as poverty, development, climate change and human rights.

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