Tag Archives: #nwafuturisticfridays

The Internet of Things Is Far Bigger Than Anyone Realizes

DANIEL BURRUS, BURRUS RESEARCH

WHEN PEOPLE TALK about “the next big thing,” they’re never thinking big enough. It’s not a lack of imagination; it’s a lack of observation. I’ve maintained that the future is always within sight, and you don’t need to imagine what’s already there.

Case in point: The buzz surrounding the Internet of Things.

What’s the buzz? The Internet of Things revolves around increased machine-to-machine communication; it’s built on cloud computing and networks of data-gathering sensors; it’s mobile, virtual, and instantaneous connection; and they say it’s going to make everything in our lives from streetlights to seaports “smart.”

But here’s what I mean when I say people don’t think big enough. So much of the chatter has been focused on machine-to-machine communication (M2M): devices talking to like devices. But a machine is an instrument, it’s a tool, it’s something that’s physically doing something. When we talk about making machines “smart,” we’re not referring strictly to M2M. We’re talking about sensors.

A sensor is not a machine. It doesn’t do anything in the same sense that a machine does. It measures, it evaluates; in short, it gathers data. The Internet of Things really comes together with the connection of sensors and machines. That is to say, the real value that the Internet of Things creates is at the intersection of gathering data and leveraging it. All the information gathered by all the sensors in the world isn’t worth very much if there isn’t an infrastructure in place to analyze it in real time.

Cloud-based applications are the key to using leveraged data. The Internet of Things doesn’t function without cloud-based applications to interpret and transmit the data coming from all these sensors. The cloud is what enables the apps to go to work for you anytime, anywhere.
Let’s look at one example. In 2007, a bridge collapsed in Minnesota, killing many people, because of steel plates that were inadequate to handle the bridge’s load. When we rebuild bridges, we can use smart cement: cement equipped with sensors to monitor stresses, cracks, and warpages. This is cement that alerts us to fix problems before they cause a catastrophe. And these technologies aren’t limited to the bridge’s structure.

If there’s ice on the bridge, the same sensors in the concrete will detect it and communicate the information via the wireless internet to your car. Once your car knows there’s a hazard ahead, it will instruct the driver to slow down, and if the driver doesn’t, then the car will slow down for him. This is just one of the ways that sensor-to-machine and machine-to-machine communication can take place. Sensors on the bridge connect to machines in the car: we turn information into action.

You might start to see the implications here. What can you achieve when a smart car and a smart city grid start talking to each other? We’re going to have traffic flow optimization, because instead of just having stoplights on fixed timers, we’ll have smart stoplights that can respond to changes in traffic flow. Traffic and street conditions will be communicated to drivers, rerouting them around areas that are congested, snowed-in, or tied up in construction.

So now we have sensors monitoring and tracking all sorts of data; we have cloud-based apps translating that data into useful intelligence and transmitting it to machines on the ground, enabling mobile, real-time responses. And thus bridges become smart bridges, and cars smart cars. And soon, we have smart cities, and….

Okay. What are the advantages here? What are the savings? What industries can this be applied to?

Here’s what I mean when I say people never think big enough. This isn’t just about money savings. It’s not about bridges, and it’s not about cities. This is a huge and fundamental shift. When we start making things intelligent, it’s going to be a major engine for creating new products and new services.

Of all the technology trends that are taking place right now, perhaps the biggest one is the Internet of Things; it’s the one that’s going to give us the most disruption as well as the most opportunity over the next five years. In my next post in this two-part series, we’ll explore just how big this is going to be.

 

The Internet of Things Is Far Bigger Than Anyone Realizes

 

 

Why Are Millennials Anxious? #nwafuturisticfridays

Anxiety_Millennial

young man unable sleep because of stress of problems

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The root of anxiety is fear. But what we afraid of? Or more particularly, what are Millennials afraid of?

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), ‘Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure. People with anxiety disorders usually have recurring intrusive thoughts or concerns. They may avoid certain situations out of worry. They may also have physical symptoms such as sweating, trembling, dizziness or a rapid heartbeat.’

In a study conducted by the APA and Harris Interactive, Millennials showed higher levels of stress and anxiety than any other living generation. The main causes they gave for their anxiety were work issues (76%), money (73%), and relationships (59%). Their concerns are not irrational, Millennials make up about 40% of the nation’s unemployment, the majority of them graduate from college without a job and a burden of financial debt, and they live at home longer which may cause relational frustration and hesitation to make relational commitments. These are the realities that they face. But theses concerns are not unique to Millennials, nor are Millennials the first to transition into adulthood and meet with issues that pose threat and create anxiety. So why is this generation at a greater risk to anxiety disorder and depression?

There are many varying opinions as to the causes of this higher rate of anxiety. Millennials report higher levels of stress factors in their lives and the APA suggests that they are not managing those stresses as well. Getting enough sleep, eating healthy and regular meals, and maintaining a consistent exercise routine are effective methods for reducing stress and consequently levels of anxiety. But Millennials do not seem to be able to get a good handle on these routines. If not managed well, living with high levels of stress and anxiety result in very real physical disorders. Stress-induced gastrointestinal disorder, insomnia, chronic depression, hypochondria, panic attacks, high blood pressure, and eating disorders are just a few of the real consequences of anxiety that Millennials are experiencing.

There is a difference between stress and anxiety. The APA differentiates the two this way, “The difference between them is that stress is a response to a threat in a situation. Anxiety is a reaction to the stress.”

Stress is inevitable and even necessary in this life. High levels of stress, in short bursts, motivates us to get up and get moving, to work harder and more efficiently. It can be exhilarating and push us to accomplish great things. Consider the lives of olympic athletes, mountain climbers, novelists, politicians, lawyers, surgeons, nurse-midwives, sailors, etc. The stresses they face keep their senses sharp and inspire perseverance in the face of challenges and obstacles. I read that ‘good stress’ does not involve ‘threat or fear,’ but I beg to differ with that opinion. There are real fears and threats that lurk in the shadows for all of us. Athletes often face serious injury, climbers fall, novelists face writer’s block and missed deadlines, politicians sometimes face security threats, and the list goes on. About the only stress that I can think of that does not involve some threat or fear is that which you might feel on a roller coaster – but even then there is a possibility of accident. We all fear failure and do our best to avoid humiliation.

Fear of terrorist attacks, too many choices which leads to decision paralysis, FOMO or fear of missing out in regard to social media, and the blurring of reality online that creates in some an expectation that they must obtain perfection, are some specific stresses that Millennials feel are unique to their generation (and perhaps Generation X).

How we choose to react to or manage the stresses we face on a daily basis will determine whether or not anxiety and its host of consequences will result. I am sure that there are many that would disagree that they have a ‘choice’ in the matter. Nevertheless, many have found relief by changing lifestyle patterns and seeking help and support. Time with friends, healthy patterns of eating, sleeping and exercise, yoga, and engagement in religious activities have all been found to be very effective in reducing stress and relieving anxiety. I leave you with that which I have found the most effective means of reducing anxiety in my own life in closing, Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Nicole Schrader

 

http://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/stress

 

‘Think Like a Farmer’ – the real innovators #nwafuturisticfridays

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I know that I’m ‘singing to the choir’ when I write that the real innovators of the 21 century are farmers. We just returned from the National Watermelon Convention in New Orleans, where over 500 members of the watermelon industry gathered to hear what is new in the industry. During a morning impact session, our growers were introduced to a variety of new innovations in agriculture, including the use of drones and precision technology, bee pollination services, and revolutionary nematode control.

Jim Carroll, a futurist and trend and innovation expert, points out that the multigenerational nature of agriculture, blending the experience of older farmers with technologically eager younger farmers, creates an opportunity for innovation and success. In his post, ’10 Big Trends in Agriculture,’ Carroll shows us how farmers are poised to meet the demands that are just around the corner. He states that the growth in the world population, an increase of over 45% by 2050, will inevitably create a huge demand for food and potential in the marketplace. Limited arable land will motivate those in agriculture to become more efficient. Perhaps drone technology, vertical farming practices, and robotics will play a larger role.

Carroll notes that new methods to improve crop yield as well as intelligent packaging are the direct result of rapidly developing chemical substances. Emerging methodologies, practices and partnerships will continue to rise as those in agriculture focus on growth, efficiency, and ingestion of new science.

Trends that encourage a focus on health and convenience have created a surge in fresh-cut produce as snack alternatives at home and in schools. Concern over food safety has inspired greater relationships between producer and consumer. Jim Carroll is convinced that, “…an increasing number of partnerships between growers and advisers, suppliers, buyers, retailers and just about everyone else,” will continue to increase in order to , “… deal with the massive complexities that emerge from rapid change and innovation.”

The most impactful trend that Mr. Carroll notices is that of generational transformation – he is convinced that the as the younger generation of farmers take over the family business a “sea-change in the rate by which new ideas in the world of agriculture are accepted,” will take place. No doubt change is already taking place.

The National Watermelon Association is preparing for this tidal wave by embracing its future farm leaders. During the convention, four Future Watermelon Farm Leaders were recognized as rising leaders who will ride the wave of transformational innovation.

Nicole Schrader

 

 

 

Carroll, Jim. “10 Big Trends for Agriculture.” Jim Carroll Futurist Trends Innovation Keynote Speaker RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Mar. 2016.

‘Experience Never Gets Old’ – #nwafuturisticfridays

The_Intern-Experience_never_gets_old

Value of experience is the premise of the 2015 movie, The Intern. In this film, a successful startup online clothing company CEO (Anne Hathaway), is pleasantly surprised by the wisdom and contribution of her new intern (Robert DeNiro). The film highlights both the exciting, creative, Millennial workforce as well as the value of age and experience in the realm of business. Although the clash of generational cultures is very amusing, the emphasis on the friendship between generations is the most rewarding.

This is not a movie review, nevertheless, the film touches on a real concern regarding the future of leadership in our nation. It has been said that as senior management in businesses and associations retires, there will be a leadership vacuum that their Millennial replacements will not be adequately trained to fill. As satisfying as it may be to retiring managers to know that their experience is invaluable, the future success of the businesses hang in the balance, unless the next generation is sufficiently trained and mentored.

Highly educated and tech savvy Millennials may have the edge on their predecessors in regard to technology, but they are also the first to admit their need of education and training on the job. A recent workplace survey conducted by public relations firm, Finn Partners, states, “New research finds that Americans believe the most important initiative companies can undertake is investing  in their employees through training and growth opportunities, followed by recruiting and retention of talent.” Results also state that the majority of every age group would go back to school for more education if given the opportunity, with 74% of Millennials surveyed in the lead.

A study of our own membership, conducted in 2015, corroborates these results. Our Millennial members expect us to provide them with current industry trends and information. One younger member writes, “Value for me is education at this point in my career. Therefore, the educational sessions (at the National Conventions) are what I want to see and hear.”

Expert speakers and educational seminars may be venues for conveying industry trends, but the education and training needed to develop leadership must be taken on by senior members/leaders in companies. Mentoring programs, internships, and shadowing opportunities provide the framework for such training.  So if you’re a Millennial reading this article today, look for a mentor and take initiative in the relationship. If you are the seasoned supervisor, it is your responsibility to prepare the next generation to take your place. Give these young, eager Millennials the guidance and opportunities they need to blossom under your tutelage. As Ben Whittaker (DeNiro) would say, “You’re never wrong to do the right thing.”

 

Nicole Schrader

 

 

 

 

Lawrence, Chistopher. “REGARDLESS OF RACE, AMERICANS SIGNIFICANTLY VALUE TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES OVER DIVERSITY PROGRAMS, NEW STUDY REVEALS – Finn Partners.” FinnPartners.com. N.p., 26 Jan. 2016. Web. 12 Feb. 2016.

Bascuas, Katie. “Tapping Training and Development For Top Talent.” RSS 20. Associations Now, 04 Feb. 2016. Web. 12 Feb. 2016.

“The Intern – Official Movie Site – Trailer, Film Synopsis – Own It On Digital HD 12/22 Or On Blu-Ray™ 1/19.” The Intern – Official Movie Site – Trailer, Film Synopsis – Own It On Digital HD 12/22 Or On Blu-Ray™ 1/19. 2015 Warner Bros, n.d. Web. 12 Feb. 2016.

The Convention Provides Common Ground – Marketing to Millennials #nwafuturisticfridays

SONY DSC

The vitality of a trade association and its meetings requires a fully engaged membership, including professionals of all ages. But the long-term vitality of the organization requires a particular focus on millennials, aka Generation Y…”

It is true that the future of all associations depends upon their ability to engage the Millennial generation in its ranks, and the National Watermelon Association is no exception. But this is not a one-way street. For an association to be vital and effective, the senior members must draw Millennials into the workings, providing guidance and support; and the Millennials must actively seek out those seasoned professionals in order to glean from their experience and encouragement.

If they do not see sufficient value in membership and meeting attendance, they will not likely become the lifelong participants the association needs in order to maintain its numbers decades from now.”

As the annual National Watermelon Association convention fast approaches, it is significant that all of its members understand their importance to the vitality and longevity of the Association. Its value and the value of its meetings should never be overlooked or underestimated. The National Watermelon Association is ‘dedicated to making a positive difference in the business and lives of its members.’ This mission is accomplished by the active participation of our members. Our Committees invest in research taking place at universities and institutes nationwide to increase yield and prevent disease; they keep an eye on litigation and government regulations that impact business and labor in order to keep our members in good standing and aware of the laws; they sponsor events that promote watermelon and the industry as a whole; and they sacrifice their time and resources supporting all our members.

Millennials don’t just want electronic networking; face to face is still of a very high value to them, and the conference is a really good place to do that.”

Our conventions are like no other association’s. The focus of our event is not the exhibit hall, but rather educational sessions, opportunities to connect and encourage our members, and recognition for outstanding service. This year’s convention in New Orleans will feature impactful general sessions led by experts that will address issues like drones in agriculture, crop insurance, Phytophthora solutions, FDA food safety rules, seed certification, bees and bee health, and more! During the convention we will introduce the first class of the National Watermelon Association’s Hall of Fame and recognize the significant contributions of members in our long history. The National Watermelon Association is often compared to a family, as its members are concerned and invested in the welfare of all its members – young and old.

So, Millennial or veteran member of the association, both need to be intentional if ‘a positive difference’ is the goal. In 24 days, the National Watermelon Association will convene in New Orleans providing opportunities to learn, grow, support, connect, and lead. Find common ground on the golf course, in a tour bus, during the opening event, or over lunch after a general session. Make a plan today to attend, to engage others in conversation, to ask questions, and to make friends in the watermelon industry. It is your opportunity to become a ‘family member.’

Nicole Schrader

 

“Marketing to Millennials – Www.themeetingmagazines.com.”Wwwthemeetingmagazinescom. N.p., 30 Nov. 2015. Web. 01 Feb. 2016.

#nwaFuturisticFridays – Issues that Matter to Millennials

People waiting to vote

Although presidential candidates have been in the news for a couple of years already, 2016 is election year. Advertising and campaigning will ramp up as we get closer to significant primaries and the November election date. Candidates target Millennials as they make up the majority of the voting population – that is if they are registered and actually vote. There have been many articles published, including some of mine, that maintain that Millennials don’t have a great deal of confidence in the government as a means to social or economic improvement. They don’t trust the rhetoric of the politicians and don’t feel that their votes matter. The candidates, however, know the importance of their votes and are using every communication tool available and popular with Millennials to try to get their attention.

Millennials may be less engaged than earlier generations in the political process, however that does not mean that they are uninformed or that they are not interested in the future of the country or its leaders. These young Americans have been well-educated at great expense and find themselves underemployed or unemployed. They are beginning to understand, first hand, the impact that decisions made in Washington, DC have on their lives. If candidates desire their support, they must listen to them and speak to the issues that matter most to them.

Last week Ipsos, a public affairs research company, polled 1141 Millennials between the ages of 18-34. It’s important to note that 77% of those who participated in the poll were registered voters and 50% of them voted in the last presidential election.  Although about 75% of those polled agreed that voting is a responsibility and a way to impact important issues, only 53% thought their votes changed an election.

When asked to prioritize the issues that the next President should concern him/herself with, the Millennials gave the following answers:

  • Economy/Jobs/ Minimum Wage/ Paid Leave (35%)
  • Education/ College Affordability/ Student Debt (28%)
  • Foreign Policy/ Middle East/ Terrorism/ Homeland Security (25%)
  • Health Care/ Health Insurance (24%)
  • Gun Laws/ Gun Safety (23%).

The majority of those polled agreed that by 2030 the US should transition to mostly clean or renewable energy. However, this issue showed up lower on their list of priorities for the next President (13%).

From these findings, we can see that Millennials care about the issues that are significant to the majority of Americans. So if there are any presidential candidates reading this article, your job seems pretty clear – you need to convince this eager voting block that you are going to follow through with your campaign promises.

I leave you with the most promising finding from the Ipsos poll, 65% of those polled said that they encourage their friends and family to vote.

 

Nicole Schrader

 

“Rock the Vote / USA Today Millennial Poll – January 2016 | Ipsos.” Ipsos In North America. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Jan. 2016.

#nwafuturisticfridays – Happy New Year! 2016 Forecasts

#nwafuturisticfridays ~ Feeding the World with Leftovers

feed the world

While we currently produce enough food to feed the world’s 7.3 billion people, 795 million go hungry. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization has estimated a third of the world’s food fit for human consumption does not reach consumers.

Transportation, refrigeration, and preservation have always been major obstacles to be overcome in the distribution of food resources. Modern production lines have improved and these bumps in the road have become navigable.  A large part of the discrepancy, at least in the United States, remains due to waste by distributors, retailers, and consumers every year. A 2013 UN report estimated that 550 million tons of food are discarded every year – in the United States alone, 30% of all food is thrown away annually. Interestingly, food waste in developing countries occurs early in the production chain due greatly to managerial and technical constraints, while food waste takes place later in the process in industrialized countries. The United Nations and the United States have agreed to work toward a reduction of food waste over the next 10-15 years.

Promising solutions to the problem of food waste have already been presented and are being implemented in Europe and here at home. The sale and use of visually unappealing foodstuffs have been the focus of many of these programs. Nicolas Chabanne, a French entrepreneur with connections to fruit and vegetable farmers, has established a creative campaign he calls, ‘Gueules Cassees’ or in English, ‘Ugly Mugs.’ He has designed and sells a sticker-logo (a smiling apple with a black eye and single tooth) that is affixed to blemished produce and is sold at a reduced rate (at least a 30% discount). Mr. Chabanne, donates the majority of the proceeds from the sale of the stickers to other organizations that fight food waste. The Ugly Mugs concept has spread to other countries in Europe and America. similarly, in San Francisco, Imperfect Produce is a home-delivery service that sells damaged fruits and vegetables.

Chefs and food celebrities are also rallying against food waste with solutions of their own – creative cooking. In Milan, restaurant owner Massimo Bottura, in conjunction with Caritas Ambrosiana and Davide Rampello,  opened an experimental soup kitchen which serves delicious meals from salvaged food waste. The best chefs in the world, along with local volunteers, serve meals to a selection of Milan’s homeless population. They’ve turned day old bread into sweet puddings, black bananas into fabulous banana breads, and weekly broths and minestrone from bruised vegetables, scraps, and peelings. These recipes can be reproduced at home inexpensively by those on even the tightest budget. “These dishes change the way we feed the world, because they can be cooked by anyone, anywhere, on any budget,” said Mr. Bottura about the dishes served in Refettorio Ambrosiano. “For families in need, it’s a way to bring dignity back to the table – dignity based not on the quality of the ingredients, but on the quality of the ideas.”

Reducing food waste with programs like the ones I’ve mentioned, can not only provide food for those who might otherwise go hungry, but it also has an impact on our environment and natural resources. The squandering of food is also a squandering of water, land, energy and labor. Reducing food waste can only be accomplished if each of us considers ways in which we may better steward our own resources. We may not be able to feed the hungry in far away lands, but we do have opportunities to make a difference in our own community. As we prepare to celebrate the birth of the One who fed 5000 with two fish and five loaves, it is my hope that we would look for ways in which to meet the needs of our fellow-man and woman.

Nicole Schrader

 

“Food Waste Facts.” World Environment Day –. United Nations environment Programme, 2009. Web. 16 Dec. 2015. <http://www.unep.org/wed/2013/quickfacts/>.

Chauvet, Caroline. “Save the Planet. Eat Ugly.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 10 Dec. 2015. Web. 16 Dec. 2015. <http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/11/business/energy-environment/save-the-planet-eat-ugly.html?_r=0>.

Bottura, Massimo. “Chef Massimo Bottura on Why the Future of Food Is in Our Trash.” WSJ. The Wall Street Journal, n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2015. <http://www.wsj.com/articles/chef-massimo-bottura-on-why-the-future-of-food-is-in-our-trash-1449506020>.

#nwafuturisticfridays – Christmas is Coming…

 

Kenneth Moore_Scrooge_1970

Last week we celebrated Thanksgiving, but it seems that Christmas is already upon us. Our little town of Lakeland held it’s annual Christmas parade last night and Santa’s entrance reminded me that Christmas is just around the corner. Although the season brings with it a multitude of things to do, it also ushers in an atmosphere of excitement, joy, gratitude, and generosity, like no other time of the year. On Fridays, I usually focus on issues related to the future. Today I considered writing about the response of the greeting card industry to the downward slope of sales due to the lack of appeal to Millennials. But instead, in response to the sights and sounds of Christmas pressing in around me, I’m going to join Scrooge and consider Christmas Present.

In the classic tale, ‘A Christmas Carol,’ Scrooge is taken by three ghosts on a journey of his past, present and tentative future Christmases in a successful effort to bring about a transformation in his character. During his time with the ghost of Christmas Present, his perspective is broadened as he witnesses the Christmas celebrations of his employee and his nephew. I do not intend to take you on that kind of journey, but I do believe it would benefit us all to take time to consider the value of those with whom we most closely associate.

In reference to the use of new technology and ‘the cloud’, unorthodox methods of communication or procedure, and requests for unprecedented venues or work hours, any executive may respond in a more ‘Scrooge-like’ manner. Nevertheless, the workplace is changing rapidly as are the methods of doing business – and at the forefront of the change are the Millennials.

In a recent article, ‘Millennials are not Fruitcake,’ the XYZ University staff writer tells us that, although Millennials are not like the traditional and somewhat inedible Christmas confection, they do bring ‘gifts’ to the workforce and workplace. Phil Dell points out that because Millennials have grown up with technology, they instinctively use it to get things done. What might have been deemed untraditional or unprofessional in regard to processes and methodology, is becoming commonplace. Embracing the innovative and enthusiastic nature of these young professionals and appreciating their skills will truly result in many happy returns.

Relationships and a natural integration of work and personal life have always been a challenge for full-time employees, and often sacrifices were required and expected. These values are meaningful to Millennials and respecting them will bring about the best possible outcome in your workplace as well as on your bottom line.

To truly celebrate the holiday season well, we ought to take the lessons learned by Ebenezer Scrooge to heart and recognize the worth of those around us. Merry Christmas!

 

Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him…and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!

 

Nicole Schrader

 

“DREAMS ARE WHAT LE CINEMA IS FOR…” : SCROOGE 1970. N.p., 27 July 2013. Web. 04 Dec. 2015. <http://lecinemadreams.blogspot.com/2013/07/scrooge-1970.html>.

Dell, Phil. “Part One Millennials Arent Fruitcake.docx.” Google Docs. XYZ University, n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2015. <https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B65KhrCPEpdiVHhpcGpielFhVWc/view>.

#nwafuturisticfridays – The Millennial Migration?

migrating birds

I grew up in downtown Chicago – Old Towne, New Town, Uptown, and  Belmont Harbor. My family didn’t own a car, we walked to school. My mother rode her bike to work and to the grocery store. We shopped on Michigan Avenue, ice skated on the lagoon in the Lincoln Park Zoo, spent our allowance in Piper’s Alley, and carved our names in the tables at Gino’s East after high school football games. My first major investment was a pair of roller skates with big, colorful wheels. I could skate from my house all the way to the Water Tower along the lakefront by myself. I loved living in the city.

Apparently, after some years of urban flight, city living has become very popular with Millennials – at least that is what I have been reading in the media and online. Aging downtown neighborhoods in Washington D.C. have been completely renovated as significant numbers of Millennials move into the city. Between 2000-2012, the population in the city swelled 23% as Millennials poured in.  As a result restaurants, coffee shops, wine bars, gyms and boutiques have replaced empty commercial areas. Neighborhoods have undergone a significant face-lift and are almost unrecognizable to their residents of the past.

Nevertheless, not all cities have experienced this influx of young people. Popular cities, like Chicago, Boston, and Portland, have actually seen a decrease in this population. Some areas that have seen a significant rise in Millennial population are not dense urban areas, but college towns like Austin, Texas and Columbus, Ohio – which retain many of their students after graduation.

Surprisingly the greatest increases in population, primarily consisting of Millennials, are in Southern and Intermountain West cities like Orlando, Florida and Riverside-San Bernardino, California. The large Hispanic communities contribute about 20% of the nations Millennials and that’s where they live. In his article entitled, Millennial Boomtowns: Where the Generation is Clustering, Joel Kotkin, states, “Rather than white hipsters, many millennials are working class and minority; in 2012, Hispanics and African-Americans represented 34% of the 20-29 population. Presumably many of them are more concerned with making a living than looking for ‘fair trade’ coffee or urban authenticity.”

When I was young, I was told that cities grew rapidly because they were the place where young people could find jobs, opportunities, and adventure. Today, jobs can still be found in urban areas, however, the emergence of global markets and the world-wide web has meant that destination does not signify opportunity. Young people today are living in their parent’s homes in subburbs and cities alike. They move into affordable apartments and first homes where jobs are available and they feel safe.

Perhaps adventures can be found where ever you choose to make your nest.

Nicole Schrader

Chang Elizabeth Chang, Neely Tucker, Jessica Goldstein, Cllinton Yates, Marcia Davis, Elizabeth, and Neely Tucker. “Millennials in Washington, D.C.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 18 Oct. 2013. Web. 25 Nov. 2015. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/style/2013/10/18/march-of-the-millennials/>.

Kotkin, Joel. “Millennial Boomtowns: Where the Generation Is Clustering.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 4 Aug. 2014. Web. 25 Nov. 2015. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/joelkotkin/2014/08/04/millennial-boomtowns-where-the-generation-is-clustering-its-not-downtown/2/>.