1 December 2008

Book: Grown Up Digital

Be the first to share

Grown Up Digital
McGraw-Hill is pitching me books and now and then I request a copy because the subject matter interests me greatly.

Don Tapscott’s “Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation Is Changing Your World” is such a book. It explains how digital technology has affected the children of the baby boomers, a group he calls the Net Generation, and how these kids are poised to transform society in a fundamental way.

What’s more, Tapscott (who also co-authored Wikinomics) drew for his book on a $4 million research project that undertook more than 11,000 interviews with Net Geners, along with scientific studies, input from academics and leaders in business, education and government.

Since I am not a professional reviewer, book reading is an extracurricular activity that takes me somewhat more time. I am only a third done, and on the whole the balance is positive. So this is an in-between observation — provoked by a few other reviews that I don’t want to withhold you from — yet I am likely to come back to the book once I am done with it.

Although the book’s descriptive pieces tend to be a bit non-surprising for an astute observer, the analysis is first class. Tapscott has a knack for condensing his insights in strong synthesis that is just excellent.

Here is a short excerpt:

If Wonder bread builds strong bodies in 12 ways, this generation is different from its parents in 8 ways. We call these 8 differentiating characteristics the Net Generation Norms. Each norm is a cluster of attitudes and behaviors that define the generation. These norms are central to understanding how this generation is changing work, markets, learning, the family, and society. You’ll read about them throughout the book.

  • They want freedom in everything they do, from freedom of choice to freedom of expression. […]
  • They love to customize, personalize. […]
  • They are the new scrutinizers. […]
  • They look for corporate integrity and openness when deciding what to buy and where to work. […]
  • The Net Gen wants entertainment and play in their work, education, and social life. […]
  • They are the collaboration and relationship generation. […]
  • The Net Gen has a need for speed — and not just in video games. […]
  • They are the innovators.

A recent Economist review provides a very good summary of the book and underlines the two things that Tapscott worries about:

“One is the inadequacy of the education system in many countries; while two-thirds of Net Geners will be the smartest generation ever, the other third is failing to achieve its potential. Here the fault is the education, not the internet, which needs to be given a much bigger role in classrooms (real and virtual). The second is the net generation’s lack of any regard for personal privacy, which Mr Tapscott says is a ‘serious mistake, and most of them don’t realise it.'”

Tapscott himself meanwhile has done his own bit to promote the book, not in the least through his eight (!) part article series for Business Week:

  • Net Geners come of age
    A new generation of Americans that has grown up digital are poised to make history on Election Day, if the polls are right.
  • How digital technology has changed the brain
    By their 20s, young people will have spent more than 30,000 hours on the Internet and playing video games. That’s not such a bad thing.
  • Net Gen transforms marketing
    The author of Grown Up Digital explains how Web savvy among the Net Generation (the boomers’ kids) will change how goods are bought and sold.
  • How to hire the Net Generation
    Hiring the under-30, digitally savvy young workers who will be the next generation of managers requires adapting recruitment strategies to fit the demographic.
  • How to teach and manage ‘Generation Net’
    The sage-on-stage model no longer works. To reach the Internet Generation’s members, engage them in conversation and let them work in groups.
  • Supervising Net Gen
    Forget top-down management. To harness the potential of young employees, you’ll need to collaborate and give them lots of feedback.
  • Focus on the Net Gen family
    The kids who grew up digital are closer to their parents than the previous generation. And they’ll bring new attitudes into the workplace.
  • The Net Generation takes the lead
    Enabled by the Web and digital technology, the Net Generation is transforming media, politics, and culture. Will older generations stand in the way?

Be the first to share
8 October 2015
Digital identity ecosystems in the context of Big data and mass surveillance
Research on Digital Identity Ecosystems by Francesca Bria, Gemma Galdon Clavell, Javier Ruiz, José María Zavala, Laura Fitchner, Harry Halpin D-CENT (Decentralised Citizens ENgagement Technologies) 30 June 2015 D-CENT (a European research project on "Decentralised Citizens ENgagement Technologies") …
3 October 2015
Building a design-driven culture
It’s not enough to just sell a product or service—companies must truly engage with their customers. McKinsey & Company outlines four elements of a design-driven culture, necessary to embed experience design in an organization. Really understanding …
3 October 2015
Stop Googling. Let’s Talk.
MIT Professor Sherry Turkle has been studying the psychology of online connectivity for more than 30 years. For the past five, I’ve had a special focus: What has happened to face-to-face conversation in a world …
29 September 2015
[Experientia book] Ethnography on elderly health and wellness
As we age, we increasingly depend on public services and the community for support. Well-designed public services can greatly affect the lives of the elderly and their experiences of healthcare. Experientia collaborated with DesignSingapore Council …
26 September 2015
[Book] The first-ever ethnographic study of the global reinsurance industry
Making a Market for Acts of God: The Practice of Risk Trading in the Global Reinsurance Industry By Paula Jarzabkowski, Rebecca Bednarek, and Paul Spee Oxford Scholarship Online April 2015 Abstract Reinsurance is financial market trading in the risk of …
24 September 2015
[Free eBook] Understanding the Connected Home
Understanding the Connected Home: Thoughts on living in tomorrow's connected home By Peter Bihr and Michelle Thorne Berlin, September 2015 Available on GitBook We know that connectivity increasingly makes its way into our living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms. Into …
24 September 2015
Is it time to forget Big Data and focus on real people?
Big data opens up whole world of insight for designers, but only if we focus on the actual users behind the numbers, writes Maya Nix, the Marketing Content Producer for ClickTale, in this UX Magazine …
5 September 2015
Gallup: quantitative customer experience metrics aren’t enough
Over the past decade, Gallup has observed a growing arms race among brands to implement bigger and better customer experience platforms. These systems -- also called customer experience platforms, customer experience management or CEX management …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

29 September 2015
[Experientia book] Ethnography on elderly health and wellness

As we age, we increasingly depend on public services and the community for support. Well-designed public services can greatly affect the lives of the elderly and their experiences of healthcare. Experientia collaborated with DesignSingapore Council on understanding how the elderly interact with public services and how we can look towards improving their lives with design. […]

2 July 2015
Getting citizens involved in protecting fragile energy environments

A new project funded under the FP7 European Commission framework is getting citizens involved in testing new tools for reducing energy consumption during peak loads, in the hope that its pilot program will set the new state of the art for protecting locations with fragile electricity supplies. One of France’s most fragile regions The Provence-Alpes-Côte […]

5 May 2015
Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록 in Design 4 Disaster

Design 4 Disaster features an engaging illustrated safety manual for ship passengers, a personal project by Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록. After the Korean ferry accident last year, Yuluck (who is Korean) wanted to find a way to make safety manuals more interesting to read. He spent one year designing an interactive safety guide […]

16 March 2015
Better Health and Wellbeing: Giving the elderly in Singapore sparkling golden years

Invitation: sharing session, Singapore, 30 March 2015   What are the hopes and fears of the elderly in Singapore? How can designers offer solutions that support the elderly in managing their health and wellness? What can healthcare professionals do to help them keep active? What role can technology play in the elderly’s daily lives? Design consultants […]

1 January 2015
Happy Playful New Year
21 December 2014
Experientia’s Twitter feed live

Experientia has now its own Twitter feed. Four months of Putting People First posts and other links have already been uploaded. If you followed Experientia on Twitter through the feed of its CEO, Mark Vanderbeeken, make sure to now also follow the company (but don’t unfollow Mark, who will keep on tweeting away). And while […]

See all articles