A “generation” is defined as a cohort of people born and raised around the same time and in the same place. Even with differences like gender and socioeconomic status, cultural norms, and traditions, members of a generation exhibit similar values and characteristics throughout their lives.

 From “builders” to “baby boomers,” “generation X,” “millennials,” and “generation Z,” we are familiar with the differences between generations and how we define age groups, most notably by attitudes that are shaped in their formative years.

From the generation of Jack Welch, we learned to succeed through “command and control” organizational structures, from Steve Jobs’ “boomer” generation to be more committed, self-sufficient, and competitive. “Gen X” allowed us to be more open and collaborative. “Millennials” (also known as Gen Y) were the first digital natives, unable to imagine life without a mobile phone and social media, and the entrepreneurs who reshaped markets. The “Gen Z” brought a fresh conscience to society. Whether we like it or not, the way we work is changing, and at this time, the question that arises is what happens next?

Infographic overview of the defining traits of generations via generationalpha.com
Why Gen Alpha?

Who is today’s Alpha generation? Generation Alpha was born beginning in 2010 and is also known as the iGeneration or the global generation. These are the children of generation X and millennials, and often the younger siblings of Generation Z.  Being born entirely in the 21st Century, this generation is the most technologically literate thus far: from an early age, they use various gadgets, are involved in information technology and online communication. These children prefer to choose what and how to watch online. They are actively creating new content. To find a common language with such an audience and gain trust, we have to consider new, completely, sometimes completely unknown to older generations, cultural codes.

Generation Alpha Infographic via generationalpha.com/

Alphas are truly new people, with their own unique traits and challenges. Surprisingly, the followers of the generational theory of Neil Howe and William Strauss decided not to continue following the Greek alphabet, which they turned to, “marking” generations from 1967 to 2010 with the letters X, Y, and Z, but to complete the cycle of evolution. And after 2010, they reset the countdown and returned to Alpha.

“Alpha – not a return to the old, but the start of something new.”

Mark McCrindle

How can we know much about them?

Generation Alpha represents the future and provides a lens through which we can look to the next decade and beyond. Since their environment is nothing like what it was for the previous generations, their upbringing comes with interesting society challenges, and the future of work will be completely reshaped. There are some facts we need to know about this generation.

  • The most educated generation– Generation Alpha will be the most educated generation of all time, thanks to technology and instantaneous information. Technology makes them the most globally connected generation ever as they will work, study, and travel between different countries and multiple careers without cultural and language barriers. They will grow up learning more and more in-depth about the world than all of their predecessors.
  • Shaped by technology– for children born in the digital age, the virtual world and the real world are close. They move freely from one to another, as they are accustomed to the fact that the screen’s image looks more and more like what surrounds them. Virtual reality is equally valuable to them, so the alpha generation doesn’t care about looking better on a smartphone or tablet than in real life.
  • Generation Alpha focuses on skills, not content- We need just one second to understand if the information is interesting. That includes being metacognitive about their actions and choices. The new generation’s children can learn how to think, not what to think, and teachers will need to be more considerate of skills rather than content.

  • Generation of collaboration- This generation will put a renewed emphasis on critical thinking and creative problem solving, mainly through collaborative efforts. Teachers will need to provide digital interactions, virtual connections, making, prototyping, gaming, video production, and virtual destinations. In this way, the new generation of students will have many more opportunities to do something unique or solve an authentic problem.

  • The future of education- Generation Alpha will have access to more information than any other generation gone before and develop additional competencies and character qualities. This generation is going to be interested in authenticity. They will want to create valuable products that allow them to integrate their learning to show what they know in a nontraditional way.

  • The future of work- Massive changes are happening to the workforce, and demographers affirm the alpha generation will become the engine of progress. The new generation will have careers in emerging fields, and they will also need to be adaptive, constantly upskilling, and retraining to remain relevant to the changes anticipated.

In the age of technology, children are the future engine of progress. Image via generationalpha.com

In Conclusion

Every generation is a reaction to the one that came before it, and the Alpha generation will not be an exception. Being the most digitally skilled generation ever, we are talking about a generation that will live longer, work later will be more formally educated, materially endowed, and globally, will be the wealthiest generation to date. Finally, with the ubiquitous development of the Internet, all sorts of boundaries, be they cultural or political, will be blurred even more. Therefore, it will be important for the alpha generation to build a global world that is more flexible and socially responsible.

Main image from generationalpha.com/

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Ana Damaschin

Ana Damaschin

Senior Researcher, The Nagaoka Review