iGen: The Next Generation

I’ve been thinking about the generation who will inherit what we’re seeing this summer, from 93% of the land in the western United States experiencing drought to flooding in Europe and China. The generation born since 1995 (and running, apparently, until 2012) was coined “iGen” by Dr. Jean Twenge in her 2017 book of the same name. As noted on her book’s website:

“iGen is the first generation to spend their entire adolescence in the age of the smartphone … But technology is not the only thing that makes iGen distinct from every generation before them; they are also different in how they spend their time, how they behave, and in their attitudes toward religion, sexuality, and politics. They socialize in completely new ways, reject once sacred social taboos, and want different things from their lives and careers. More than previous generations, they are obsessed with safety, focused on tolerance, and have no patience for inequality.”

For those of us in the utility sector – whether water or energy – I also wondered what this generation thinks of utilities, if they think of utilities at all. And then it occurred to me: hey, I live with three of them!

So I decided to interview them about what they think are the most important jobs of utilities and the digital experiences provided by utilities today. My survey sample included three cohorts of iGen (and included free bagels to incent focus):

  1. College age (Freshman)