Work Place Revolution, Intergenerational Engagement Using Scrum and Open Space

Convener:  Suzanne Daigle


List of Participants:

·         Helene de Saint Front –

·         Vincent Lasalle –

·         Georgana Georgieva –

·         Stefano Lucantoni –


Discussion Highlights :


In the US, Massive number of baby boomers who are heading towards retirement but who may not be retiring (in the US, about 78 Milllion); Almost an equal number of Millennials  (ages 21 to 34)  coming into the workforce with a much smaller number of Gen X (ages 35 to 48); Similar trends in other countries though not all. In 7 years in the US, Millennials will represent 51% of the workforce. Massive transitions ahead and we are unprepared.


Some companies (i.e. Microsoft are seriously looking at this). Many misunderstanding between the two generations: Baby Boomers and Millennials.  For example, parents and leaders will often say:  “Why do you spend so much time on Facebook?” Leaders are mostly baby boomers, they don’t understand the way the younger generation thinks and works.  Often managers will say they are not “management potential”. People will seek to hire others who are like them.


The world has changed. Job security does not exist, unlikely that young people today will have a pension at retirement age. Rather than doing jobs that don’t use their talents and skills or because there are not enough jobs, many young people staying in school, doing internships. In France, internships are quite segregated; work is more project base so the opportunities to interact with a broader side of the business are diminished.


The Financial Crisis of 2008 is forcing a workplace revolution, companies need to operate differently; need to look at networks and flatter organizations. If companies are to succeed, they need to attract the talent doing some of the things that Google is doing, providing discretionary time to be involved in creative projects that provide meaning at work.


Scary now to look at mainstream companies, to see the clash in the 2 generations (Baby Boomers and Millennials). We are losing a lot of knowledge by not interacting with each other directly NOW. It’s important that the 2 generations learn from each other; we need to explore new ways of doing things.


Typical conversations:


Father “What do you want to do with your life?  That’s not a job that will provide security over the long term. “

Son:  “Want meaning and purpose. There is no security and most likely there won’t be retirement when I grow old.”


New companies are reinventing work; younger people more adaptive to change and the environment. They are used to change.


We need strategies to bring the two generations together. Millennials want to provide their perspectives on the strategy. Hard to do when there are 12 layers of management.  We never get to talk to those making the decisions.  For people who have been doing their work the same way for a long time, it is difficult for them to see it differently. They also look to hire people who like them.


We can expect a big crash ahead. At some point the number of Millennials will shift the pyramid with leadership now sitting at the top.


Ironic that baby boomers created the globalized world but they don’t have the tools to manage and lead it.


We don’t have the space to integrate our different points of view.  When baby boomers come into positions of power, they then project their own view of the world. In the future, these books will be totally rewritten. If the dialogue does not begin to happen, chances are we will also not be interacting with our grand-children because this will not have happened between us now.


It is normal that people become more tired and more conservative when they are older; they are typically less open, more risk averse.  There are still ways to remain creative.


We are seeing anthropological shifts; it is not possible for older people to maintain control as they have done in the past. The young people have many more ways to approach problems and seek out opportunities.


In the past, you achieved control through knowledge. Now that knowledge is available to everyone.


Unfortunately young people don’t have all the knowledge and wisdom. Right now because of the hierarchy and lack of interaction, we are losing theoretical and even specialized technical knowledge. This is not being shared. It will create major problems in the future.


Other issues is that Millennials will have less children.  In some countries, poorer countries,  the opposite is happening; people have many more children. It has been shown that with greater wealth, couples have few children.  Many from other countries are becoming highly educated also. More competition for jobs.


The Youth use the Law of 2 Feet a lot. Don’t stay in jobs that don’t have purpose or meaning.  Need for more critical thinking.  Through the lack of dialogue and collaboration, we are also losing the values that our parents had.   In young people, there is a sense of entitlement. We want things to happen right away. If the values are there, Youth is willing to work hard. At the same time, there is a feeling of being rushed. There is so much that is broken, so much to be done.


Question:  How do you make our organizations value having these conversations…together? We need to “force” these conversations to happen.
















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