Gen Z may as well be called “Generation Social Impact”. For reasons previously mentioned, Digital Natives are stepping up to the task to be pioneers and innovate solutions for the betterment of humanity. We especially see large movements in the space in the Baltic Region, where a host of youth are creating the next generation of artificial intelligence technologies fueled by human-centricity at their core. But beyond this, there are 5 specific ways in which Gen Z is catalyzing this change: inclusivity, feminism, digital-first mentality, technology for social good, and transparency.
Gen Z is the most ethnically diverse generation yet. Naturally, this means that there is a generational emphasis on diversity and inclusion that is encoded within all of their maneuvers. This includes innovating with diverse opinions and expertise, as well as sourcing cross-demographic data sets to enable for more resilient technological/AI solutions and a more robust social entrepreneurship scene. It is difficult for one to claim that they are socially entrepreneurial without emphasizing inclusivity and diversity. Gen Z, however, follows what they preach.
28% of females enter STEM, 12.2% of IT board members are women, only 12% of the world’s machine learning researches are females, and a mere 13.8% of all AI research has been authored by women. Gen Z has the potential to reverse this, and encourage more females to become social entrepreneurs in technology and science with their emphasis on gender equality. Findings show as many as 42% of Gen Z parents consider gender equality the most pressing value to them. With Gen Z’s push for more women to innovate, social entrepreneurship will become a more resource-rich and idea-rich pursuit.
- Digital First Mentality
Gen Z is bent on the digital first approach to absolutely everything. Whether its optimization of daily processes, full automation or augmentation of lifestyle. 80% aspire to work with cutting-edge technology and 80% believe technology and automation will create a more equitable work environment. Gen Z social entrepreneurs will always orient solutions around their digital native mindset.
- Technology for Social Good
Gen Z entrepreneurs view AI as a way to achieve social good. According to generational members themselves, here are their opinions.
Social innovation is the rule now, rather than the exception. When you build a company, what first comes to mind? The people! You exist to service and add value to your clients. And social innovation is inherently human-centric in nature. Adding AI to the equation (if used correctly), will help companies even more in the effort to maximize value.
– Jonathan Sirotin, Former Founder, Alpine Esports
Gen-Z is approaching this rapidly changing landscape with a diverse, multifaceted approach that will subsequently integrate every aspect of AI and digitalization into the broader fabric of our modern economy.
– Ben Fink, Futurist
Gen Z is known as the “True Gen”. According to McKinsey, “Our study based on the survey reveals four core Gen Z behaviors, all anchored in one element: this generation’s search for truth. Gen Zers value individual expression and avoid labels. They mobilize themselves for a variety of causes. They believe profoundly in the efficacy of dialogue to solve conflicts and improve the world. Finally, they make decisions and relate to institutions in a highly analytical and pragmatic way.” Transparency greatly influences social entrepreneurship, as Gen Z-ers push to create ethical and responsible frameworks that make innovators accountable for the creation of new technologies, hence making them more socially aware of their impact on citizens.
Gen Z is reshaping how social entrepreneurship is viewed and implemented. As more youth become involved in innovation, this will have profound effects on the state of entrepreneurship in the digital age.
This publication has been prepared within SENBS project No. 2020- 1-EE01-KA204-077999. The content of this publication is the sole responsibility of the project coordinator and may not always reflect the views of the European Commission or the National Agency.