As part of the Millennial Dream project, we had the awesome opportunity to hang out with 25 university and college students as they went through a year with the Pond Deshpande Centre (PDC) at the University of New Brunswick. The PDC’s focus is to advance innovation and entrepreneurship in New Brunswick. This group of students is the 2015 cohort of the Student Ambassador Program. We were able to pick their brains and get their opinions on their definition of the Millennial Dream, and how it has evolved from the American Dream of their parents and grandparents. They were also able to articulate some of the frustrations their generation has when older generations misinterpret their motives and values. The Millennial Dream project is hoping bridge gaps of understanding between the Boomers, Gen-X, Ys and Zs.
The Millennial generation world-view that the PDC students have expressed to us is the closest any of our generations have gotten to an enlightened, connected and sustainable world. The seeds that the hippies in the Baby Boom Generation planted on the fringe are now sprouting into the conscious of the main stream.
Similar to the panel we had in front of an audience of Baby Boom and Generation X thought leaders and change-makers, my Millennial Dream partners in crime were able to present the project and have a conversation with this group of highly engaged students.
As we collectively tried to define the Millennial Dream over the year with this group, we have come to the conclusion that the Millennial Dream is not exclusively the dream of Millennials, it is the dream of all generations living in the connected economy of the 21st century. The difference between Generation Y (Millennials) and the older generations is that the majority has the Millennial Dream values of sustainability, community and progress bakes into their DNA. This very dialogue can be seen as little relevance to Millennials as they have been brought up in a society that has allowed them to see the world in a much more holistic lens than previous generations. In my opinion, the older generations need to embrace the fact that the Millennial generation values are most likely the same as the Baby Boomers and the Generation Xers. The only difference is that many of the older generations have dreamt of the utopian society that values connectedness, purpose, and community, as opposed to the Millennials who are actually living and evolving what was previously considered a dream for the future.
So why should Generation Y and Z care about defining the Millennial Dream? Many people in older generations share the same values and can help accelerate the movement towards building our communities into Millennial Dream places to be. There is no reason why New Brunswick can not be one of the most attractive places to live, innovate and grow in…for all generations. This is worth the effort of building a community with generational co-operation and partnerships.