Youth work | Clients | TrendTalk

Youth work

As I age I come to enjoy my work with young professionals more and more. I seek out the work as much as possible.
Over the past three years I’ve worked with several conferences and gatherings of young professionals in a number of fields. Typically I’m asked to do a futurist speaker presentation but I’ve also done more and more hands-on work with young people to pass along what I call “anticipatory skills.”
One of the exercises I often use is to take them through an analysis of implications - the results, consequences, or after-effects of an event, trend, probability, or possibility.
I notice several things about this kind of work with them:
  1. They’re open to new approaches and techniques. Not a big surprise here but the difference between this age group and the supposed “older and wiser” is profound. I can introduce a technique to young professionals, demonstrate how it’s used, and they’re off and running. Older people in the same meeting or similar lines of endeavor balk, hesitate, or flat refuse to participate.
  2. The observations about the future from young people are open, fresh, and complex. They “get” complexity and don’t shy away from it. They find it fascinating. They point out nuance. Their minds twist away at situations as if they’re manipulating a Rubik’s cube to find a solution.
  3. They see things that I don’t in the future. I’ve never completed an exercise like I describe without coming away with an “aha!” that arose from a young person’s observation.
I’m hoping to do much more work with this group in the future.