The X-factors behind Generation Y transforming 21st century organizational cultures

Viktor Vogt · 8 min · 18.10.2016

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Problems cannot be solved with the same mindset that created them – Albert Einstein


How to create a better world? How to create a world that everybody would actually want? Who has never asked this question?


Personally, it has been a question that has always driven me. It has brought me from discovering our economic and societal systems, to an exploration of corporate systems, reportings and ratings to the role and impact of the mindsetindividual attitude & organizational culture.


I believe people would prefer fostering own purpose and potential rather than societal or financial success measures. Engaging into real dialogue and collaboration instead of unconsciously competing against each other. Feeling like an actor/co-creator rather than like a victim of given structures.


What if these changes happened not just “behind private curtains” but in the centre of our workplaces? What would an organisation look like that fosters connection, purpose, collaboration and empowerment? Where the unfolding of individual, interpersonal, organisational and societal potential go unisono?


I experience this transformation taking place. Theory U Innovator Otto Scharmer speaks of turning attention to “the place from where we act”. James W. Tamm and Ronald J. Luyet talk about the “inner side” of business.  Frédéric Laloux speaks directly of “reinventing organizations”.


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The Why and How of This Transformation

euforia has experimented with this mindshift with thousands of youth since 2007 in its events, within its own organisation and with other companies and given that experience I believe, we are one of the many facilitators of this transformation. Following, I would like to share some of our perceptions and learnings.


We have identified a couple of key drivers of this transformation at an organisational level:

    1. The rate of change & need for constant innovation : Globalisation has made the wheels turn ever faster, fostering a sense of increased competition. “If you don’t act, somebody else will before you”. But: Innovation & constant reinventing of organisations can not happen among a couple of CEsomethings. It needs both the sensors and the idea-power of the collective organisation.
    2. The increased transparency & need for authenticity: Digitisation means that the reflection on & creation of information is being democratized. For employers this means a greater need for authenticity instead of employer “branding”. This entails both being truthful about what is and ensuring more participation in the creation of what could be.
    3. The sense of interconnectedness & need for responsibility: Globalisation means that an organisation’s sphere of influence has substantially increased. Digitisation means that even the furthest influence is linked back to the organisation in (social) media. Trust goes further than control. How to ensure this personal responsibility at a human level rather than just through systems?
    4. The changed mindset of Generation Y & need for rethinking leadership: The generations Y and Z (today’s 16 to 32 year olds) will represent 75% of the entire workforce by 2025. They have other needs and values than their predecessor generations: flexibility and purpose, for example, are more important to them than security and a high salary. Moreover, most of them wish participation, flexibility, self-responsibility and a trust-based cooperation. This is rather incompatible with traditional management philosophy and calls for radically rethinking leadership.




In facilitating these kind of cultural transformations, we have found some approaches to be key:

  1. First is the notion of facilitation itself. We don’t know what are the good and right next steps for a person or a group of people in terms of culture at any given moment. We can only facilitate their process, by managing participants’ energy level, the space is hospitable and inclusive and the process invites truthful relations. No true inner change can be forced or controlled.
  2. Second is the notion of experiential and transformative learning. We interact with the world through thinking, doing, feeling and a sense of inspiration. For a workshop to be meaningful for everybody, in our experience, we need to work with all of these wires between us and the world. Creating active experiences rather than imposing knowledge.
  3. Thirdly, we have seen that change starts with(in) the individual. To facilitate this, we work  with the Life Purpose model© for example, stating with the premise that a person can unleash her/his full potential when engaging into work that lies at the interface of his/her values, strengths, interests and motivation.


We continue exploring and experimenting this transformation, always learning and discovering along the way. If you want to experience and share with us some of our approaches, we very warmly welcome you to our workshop Collaborating with Generation Y: Building 21st century organizational cultures on November 2 at Impact Hub Zurich or November 9 at Impact Hub Geneva. You can sign up here.

And if all of this intrigues you or resonates with you, we are always excited to get to know and collaborate with like-minded people & organisations, drop me a mail!



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