Paula Zuccotti is the founder of The Overworld, a research and insight global observatory. Former Director of Futures at Seymourpowell, she has twelve-years experience directing strategic global scale consumer behavior and trend studies for a high-profile portfolio of clients. In this article Paula reports on her encounters with Generation Y.
Generation Y is shaping the creative industries beyond the product of their work.
Those born after 1982 represent a large part of the workforce in the creative industries and the arts today. As they blend with Xers, Joneses and Boomers, they are learning from the well-established experience of their counterparts yet refreshing the traditional ways in which the work itself is approached and developed.
There are some recurrent themes that seem to define the most creative subset of Generation Y, according to the research I have conducted of this group throughout the world.
The creativity once channeled to a piece of art/design/music is now being channeled to approach the individual soul as well, resulting in a holistic attitude to one’s work and one’s life. The individual plays a less fragmented role (professional, personal, family, community), aiming for a balanced sense of expression where one’s creative passions dictate the way one lives and connects to the world. Being in control means prioritising their own creative body clock over the 9-5 regime.
There is a shift from large creative agencies to the re-emergence of individual talents. Where work involves following one’s ideas and beliefs, going solo preserves the purity of the outcome. They still collaborate with others, but on more flexible terms. Creative camaraderie rather than business partnership is at the heart of the relationships formed with their peers. Individuals come freely together to create unique combinations of talents and outputs, all of which are project specific, facilitating a higher level of control of the end-result and less compromises being made along the way.
Generation Y is not afraid to learn new skills independently, whether that be complimenting their studies with alternative curiosities, launching themselves into doing what they love at an earlier age or simply following their raw talent. The ability to learn-with-the-flow brings a greater sense of optimism when approaching problem-solving or cross-disciplinary work.
Taxonomy of Intersections
For Generation Y there are less boundaries between creative disciplines; they don’t seem to be constrained by being either an illustrator, a product designer or a film maker. They interplay between 2D and 3D, art and design, film and music, analogue and digital etc. Consequently they operate in the juxtaposition between fields, creating novel and fresh ways of expression (hence, they are sometimes referred to as the Slash/ Slash generation).
The new framework challenges creatives to be self-sustainable and to require less from others to achieve what they want. Therefore we are seeing an increase in self-experimentation (at home, in the studio, in the atelier) to challenge industrial processes. The domestication of industrial software from film and music (and soon design, with the emergence of home 3d printing) is enabling young creatives to bypass traditional models and produce things within shorter periods. Since everyone can produce, publish and share so quickly, the immediate feedback gained from their audience (such as number of hits and likes) influences the subsequent project and shortens the time between different production cycles.
I worked on these two videos for Nokia Brand and Marketing Studio while I was Director of Futures at Seymourpowell. Part of the Connecting People series, they are good examples of how Generation Y go about living and leading their creative lives. “Dancing with Strangers” tells the story of living a creative life in Istanbul, while “Just Below the Surface” is set in Shanghai.