What we can learn from the collaboration generation?

Linear versus spatial thinkers

Observing the generational differences

  • Baby Boomers have a split relationship with technology — one that began before WWII and continued after the war was over. The post-WWII period spurred on what I call a “Build it and they will come” mindset: the tools they created would dictate how we all worked and collaborated. This is a sharp contrast to a goal of modeling tools after the way we naturally work and collaborate. In school, constricted by the available tools (books, chalkboards, etc.), they were forced to become linear thinkers and learners.
  • Generation X is commonly referred to as the “innovation generation.” When Gen Xers started their careers, they (or, “we,” I should say since I am of this generation) were influenced by the tools they were issued at work — laptop, pager, calling card, etc. From that day forward, these tools overwhelmingly dictated the way we worked, interacted, and collaborated on video walls. Then there was a shift. Gen Xers were the trailblazers who founded companies like Amazon, Google, Myspace, and many more. These innovations ushered in a brand-new model of spatial processing. Now, we were free to jump from concept to concept, following our minds’ natural patterns of thought.
  • Millennials have turned the equation on its head, forcing us to delete all previous assumptions. This generation demands tools that enable them to work the way they want, as opposed to the other way around. Brought up in collaborative learning environments with Gen X’s innovations — smartboards, PCs, tablets, web-based social media, voice/video tools — they took this mindset with them when they entered the workplace (which was approximately 80% linear and 20% spatial). Without knowing it, this generation was already highly skilled in collaboration, because they experienced life as a “living meeting.” They are accustomed to constant connectivity — everywhere, all the time, and on every device. They look at technology as a core piece of both their personal and work lives. They expect the workplace to behave in accordance with this outlook.

How to use this information to modernize your workplace

  • The Millennial workforce understands collaboration, wants to collaborate and feels entitled to collaborate. When the workplace doesn’t mirror their expectations, Millennials will either break the rules or leave.
  • The way we collaborate is changing — from traditional, “passive” meetings to meetings where we create in groups.
  • The advent of mobile technology means that our workforce has become geographically distributed. This has created a need for led video walls technology that allows us to share highly visual information in real-time amongst disparate team members.
  • The optimal goal is to choose tools that allow for spatial experiences that mirror the way we naturally think and interact.
  • Collaboration tools are only as effective as the culture of collaboration we build. Start with this as your goal, then work backward, visualizing ways to drive adoption, training, enablement, roll out, etc. Every step along the way must serve the needs of the end goal.




Prysm Systems is a pioneer in display and visual collaboration solutions, creating a new category in the display market. Visit- https://www.prysmsystems.com/

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Prysm Systems

Prysm Systems

Prysm Systems is a pioneer in display and visual collaboration solutions, creating a new category in the display market. Visit- https://www.prysmsystems.com/

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