Generation Y is living the paradigm shift

Generation Y is living the paradigm shift

weekly excerpt from the book CHANGE LEADER inside, that will be published December 2014

Generation Y is living the paradigm shift

Generation Y carries the paradigm shift within itself. Its coordination system has already made the shift – in terms of values, leadership, culture, and communication, and the tendency is that this development will continue. For this generation, many things are already strikingly clear. Meanwhile, some babyboomers still need time to wrap their heads around it. Which is why this generation has an enormous influence on business and leadership culture and strategy for the future.

Generation Y- flipping the switch from hyper-consumption to collaborative consumption

American trend forecaster Rachel Botsman, with her book – “What’s Mine is Yours” became a prominent advocate of Shareconomy[1], exposing the imminent paradigm shift that is now taking place. When somebody purchases an electric drill for normal use, chances are high that it will only ever be used for a few minutes total over a lifetime. The rest of the time the high cost drill just sits around unused. And in fact, the real need is for few holes in the wall, not a drill. What does that point to? “Using instead of Owning” makes good ecological sense, but what is even more important for the economy is that the new Generation Y thinks differently, especially in terms of diversity of life, freedom, and independence. It isn’t important if one owns a car or a drill, or whatever. It is about being mobile, free, responsible, flexible, and able to enjoy a diversity of what life has to offer. What is needed is access to integrated transportation – not car ownership, but mobility. No new drill to buy, but just a simple hole in the wall will do. Do you see the difference? For Generation Y ownership comes with limitations, not freedom. Status is based on having the freedom to do what one wants, not about owning the things that one wants.

Bill Gates brings it to an even more precise point: „Banking is necessary, banks are not“. It’s no coincidence that PayPal is stirring up the market with it’s online payment site, or that people are going online to finance their projects, but what is radical is that people are motivated to do so because of the greed of bankers, and are searching for alternative solutions. People don’t trust bankers anymore, and don’t really know where or what their money is invested in, how safe their money is, and which industry it supports through credit contributions. Do I want my money to support the arms industry or solar energy? These considerations are bringing new solutions to the surface. Today, it is possible to finance private projects over the internet on a peer-to-peer lending site called For example, you can ask for financing for an IKEA kitchen for 10,000 Dollars, and people can make the open choice to help finance the project by lending whatever they wish to your project. „There is no solution that doesn’t exist“


Generation Y are changing the existing business culture

Although 10 years ago, “Using instead of Owning” was primarily a research project, it can be said that since then, it has enjoyed a second wave of development. As a cultural change, Ulf Schrader explains this development: „It feels good to be good. The social norm that says that people only get ahead through egoism is slowly breaking down.“[2]

Gerd Scholl from The Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW)[3] describes this societal change as a “playful, pragmatic, and open-minded generation, that lives and breathes the concept of networking.“ The consumers of this generation, although not totally replacing the prevailing consumption patterns, clearly act in a much more responsible way. His observations suggest that owning property (house, car, etc..) isn’t such a big status symbol anymore as it was just a few years ago, but that social participation plays an increasingly greater role, which makes a good case for “Using instead of Owning” to develop further.


wishing you ease, grace and joy for the upcoming week,
Stefan from Munich – Germany


[1] Botsman, R. und Rogers, R. (2011) What’s Mine is Yours: The rise of acollaborative consumption, How Collaborative Consumption will change the way we live, HarperCollins, London, revised and updated edition 2011

[2] Grimm, F. und Kunze, A. (2011): Meins ist Deins 3.0 in enorm Magazin, Ausgabe 2/2011, S. 19

[3] Eismann, K., Schmitt, M., Rohn, H. und Baedeker, C. (2012): Nutzen statt Besitzen, Auf dem Weg zu einer ressourcenschonenden Konsumkultur, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, Schriftenreihe zur Ökologie, Band 27, Berlin, 2012, S.12

Leave a Comment

*Required fields Please validate the required fields