Technology & the Generations

Technology & the Generations

Technology through the Generations

All the generations use technology – however the age at which you are first exposed to technology influences how integrated it is likely to become in your life.  Although we tend to associate the younger generations as those keeping pace with technological advances, the Builders Generation (born pre 1945) came of age with the development of radio, television, military technology, sound systems, and materials technology—the first plastic was developed in 1907 which revolutionised product design and invention. From the telegram, to the Teledex, wire money, bank books and receiving their cash in an envelope on payday, they have adapted to constant change. They have witnessed great advancements in medical care, aerodynamics and automotive technology.  Moreover, Builders have had to work with the new technologies of the most recent decades, most of which were not developed with the intuitive processes and frameworks of their generation in mind.

The Builders Generation have proven a remarkable ability to adapt to change.  In 1946, the ENIAC computer came out, which filled an entire room.  From this, to having tablets and smartphones in their hands, to streaming music and internet television, they have experienced extraordinary change and transition, and the rest of us can learn from the Builders Generation in how to be adaptive lifelong learners.

From Digital Learners to Digital Linguists

Digital learners primarily will approach the use of technology to complete a transaction, to achieve a task or function.  Marc Prensky coined the terms “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants”.  The younger generations also use the digital technologies to communicate and find out information, however they do not see technology as a means to achieve something, but rather as a fully integrated part of their lives, hence the label “Digital Linguists” or “Digital Natives”.  For many, it is integrated into almost every part of their life – from their waking moments until when their head goes back on the pillow at night.

Gen Z and Technology

Generation Z (born 1995-2009) have had their formative years shaped in a digitally saturated, hyper-connected, technologically-driven context.  Technology is far more integrated into the lives of Gen Z than for any previous generation. They are natural interpreters of digital platforms, fluent in the language of technology.  When it comes to learning, work and play, Gen Zs will often incorporate technology as a tool to access information, collaborate with others and share their experiences.

When building dynamic multigenerational teams, it is helpful to take time to understand the unique perspective that each individual brings.  Taking time to understand their generational lens and perspective will also help to build bridges between generations and position people in their areas of strength.


Claire Madden is a social researcher and keynote speaker. To find out more, please visit www.clairemadden.com.  To invite Claire to speak at your upcoming event, please get in touch.

The Generation Z Online Masterclass has been designed as a 10 module online masterclass to train managers, leaders, educators and parents to better understand the emerging generations.  Visit www.genzmasterclass.com and use the coupon “genzlaunch” to save $50! For bulk orders, please get in touch.

By | 2017-08-15T04:52:29+00:00 August 15th, 2017|Leadership|0 Comments

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