At a forum hosted by the IIDA’s New York chapter, held at the Steelcase WorkLife Center, generational differences were the focus. The discussion, ICONNECT: The Generation Gap, focused on millennials, Gen Xers and baby boomers. The millennials were represented by Dehne Sibbernsen of HOK and Christina Skowronski of Gensler; the Gen Xers by Addy Madorsky of The Switzer Group and Suraj Bhatia of HLW; and the baby boomers by Barry Richards of Rockwell Group and former IIDA NY president Randy Fahey of Gensler.
The panel, led by moderator Laura Huggins, contract specialist at Shaw Contract Group, and Tayler Jones, a millennial designer at Gensler, identified three different work styles between millennials and boomers; explored technology’s impact on client expectations; and discussed the role of social media, particularly Pinterest.
Bhatia shared, “Technology can be both great and evil. I think if you rely on it for your ideas, it’s really negative, because you’re basically copying what you see as opposed to using it as another source of information, but I think inspiration comes from everywhere.... It’s bringing a lot of the world closer to you than you may have access to, so I think if you use it that way it’s a positive thing.”
As IIDA reports, the different generations agreed on a number of points, among them that “face-to-face discussion was integral to the design process.” Sibbernsen shared, “I know a lot of my peers are used to working at home, but for me, it doesn’t work, because the conversation isn’t there.” Richards explained, “We’re not only creative people, we’re people who produce things, and we produce things in groups, so it demands face time, and we need to be there at the same time together.”