I began this post on the plane on the way back from a dark and damp Stockholm.
For the last 2 days Design Services Team and my team have been running a workshop with 17 customers. We applied the DLI to try and figure out what makes Millenials tick, and what impact this might have on HR policies, practices and systems. With all the talk about this new generation, all the assumptions about Facebook, social networking and so on, we felt it vital to do some deeper analysis in the HR context.
Where better than Stockholm, home to some of the world’s most online people?
The workshop was kindly hosted by TeliaSonera, in their awesome Vision Center. (This deserves its own post) An ideal setting, and my deepest thanks to the TeliaSonera HR folks for their support.
On day one the team described the DLI process, and we explored the market research we have done at SAP and elsewhere on Millenials. We then headed out to spend several hours with students from the ultra cool Hyper Island Design and Business School. It was the most impressive learning space I’d ever seen. (This magazine will give you an idea of what they get up to. Thanks to the management for letting us wreck your classes)
We took turns to interview students, with the other two team members taking lots of notes. We explored four key themes. The team I was in looked at the physical workspace requirements.
The next day we interviewed a second set of students, this time from another campus – Uppsula. The students were studying engineering and economics,. This was to act as a counterpoint to the designer übercoolers we’d met the night before, but the results were remarkably similar. Thanks to all the students, they were really helpful and patient with us oldies.
Then we moved the notes onto post its, with one post it per point. Then we clustered and synthesised the points by themes. Then we developed light weight persona, storylines, brainstormed and prototyped some high level solutions. It was hard work and rushed, but it was great to see things move from nebulous concept via 100’s of post its into a fairly coherent prototype. We then presented the findings back to the groups.
This workshop was powerful for a number of reasons.
1. I believe we gave the participants access to a methodology that they could use to explore solutions back in the office.
2. We also gave them some exposure to how the development process at SAP is changing for the better.
3. The Design team received some direct feedback on current customer experience, which they videoed.
4. We realised that we had a whole lot of theoretical assumptions about Millenials that didn’t always stand up to examination of real world users.
What surprised me the most was Facebook, or lack thereof. Far from being the centre of the universe that I’d heard and expected it to be, almost all the students said it wasn’t a big deal, and they were unlikely to use it professionally. Several were very negative about it, one student even said he’d ban it. Many said it was a fad, and that they only looked once a week or so to check for parties. There was a richer awareness of privacy issues than I’d expected.
Social networking clearly has its place with the millenials, but the message we got from the student we interviewed was relatively clear, Facebook isn’t it. Instant Messaging was much more important, and nothing beats a face to face meeting over a coffee.
So as we think about building systems and processes for this new generation, let’s not forget the role of a good espresso in building a strong business and a great network.
More to follow on this in the next few days.
BTW: The next HR Best Practice meeting will be in Milan, January 30-31. We are focusing on HR analytics, KPIs etc.. Agenda should be out shortly, but if you’d like to know more drop me a note.