I went back to my first in-person international conference and whoa was it weird to be in-person again. It was great to see friends, faces that I had only met via Zoom, and people who have helped make the last two years a little more bearable.
It was also amazing to see that we all seemed to have taken a breath during the last 850ish days.
As I walked the New Orleans Conference Center, I didn’t see the typically overly dressed people that looked uncomfortable in formal, business wear. I didn’t see the nonsense that I usually observe with everyone flaunting their busy, and “flashing their fancy.” What I did see was a group of professionals, with their own styles, smiles on their faces, respect for choices of others (some were masked, some weren’t), and collectively having fun while working professionally.
Maybe this new-found vibe of relaxed, yet professional, is just another gift of COVID. Or maybe it was more than COVID, maybe we are witnessing first hand some generational shifts.
When I was on my way home I sat next to a very cool person on the plane. She was (admittedly) at least a decade or younger than me and a designer by trade. As we were visiting, she shared a presentation she was making to her boss’s team about Generation Alpha. In a weird twist of fate she had used a few old articles of mine in her preparations.
As I sat and listened to her, I realized that we all could use a kick in the pants when it comes to design.
Why? Because as I look at materials that are being developed for training, marketing, corporate presence, etc. I am still seeing too much evidence that Gen X is designing for themselves and in doing so very quickly losing the attention of their Gen Z and Millennial (and soon Generation Alpha) colleagues.
If we are stuck in designing experiences and materials for Gen X, and the game is changing quickly we may need to jump the gap and start designing for Generation Alpha pronto just to be sure we don’t lose our handle on design and communication all together.
I hope the young lady on the plane had all ears during her presentation because as I jumped into the literature around designing and the consequences of not doing so, her message was right on…