Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Generational Memory and Related Actions

The Next 20 Years: How Customer and Workforce Attitudes Will Evolve.
By: Howe, Neil, Strauss, William,
Harvard Business Review,
July/August 2007, Vol. 85, Issue 7/8

Generations are among the most powerful forces in history. Tracking their march through time lends order -- and even a measure of predictability -- to long-term trends

Generations among US identified by the authors

The GI Generation (born 1901-1924, now age 83-106)

The Silent Generation (born 1925-1942, now age 65-82)

The Boom Generation (born 1943-1960, now age 47-64)

Generation X (born 1961-1981, now age 26-46)

The Millennial Generation (born 1982 to roughly 2005, now age 25 or younger)

The Homeland Generation (born roughly 2005-2025)

The Midlife of Generation Xers

Gen Xers will retain their reputation for alienation and disaffection as they enter their fifties -- meaning that the midlife age bracket of American society will no longer be associated with moral authority but, rather, with toughness, grittiness, and practicality.

More than people of other generations, Gen Xers will deflect a generational identity, thinking of themselves as not Boomers and not Millennials rather than as Generation X.

Having had so many choices and taken so many risks in their youth, they will feel like Generation Exhausted.

Xers entering midlife will veer in the opposite direction, searching for greater security in their families and jobs and for a steady anchor in their communities.

As they fill the ranks of midlife consumers, Gen Xers will continue to evaluate products in terms of their efficiency, convenience, and mass customization. Houses, cars, and computers will be produced for and advertised to individual consumers.

As business leaders, Gen Xers will be more effective at pushing efficiency and innovation than any other generation in memory.

Neil Howe ( and William Strauss ( are the authors of Generations: The History of America's Future, 1584 to 2069 (1991), The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy (1997), and Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation (2000), among other books, and are the founding partners of LifeCourse Associates, a publishing, speaking, and consulting company in Great Falls, Virginia. Visit for additional analysis by the authors regarding how current generations will rise to a national crisis.

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