Why your gran’s not too old to be a millennial...

The technical definition of a millennial is someone who ‘came of age’ in the new millennium; a person born in the eighties, who might be anything up to 36 years old now[i]. But what does age really have to do with being a millennial?

Last month we released our Generation Now campaign, a multimedia investigation into the impact of the millennial healthcare professional. Speaking at the launch event, CEO David Hunt defined millennials by their attitudes, behaviours and ambitions, not their date of birth:

“They’re ambitious, entrepreneurial and socially conscious individuals, who like to work iteratively and collaboratively. They are digital natives who have grown-up surrounded by an ever-evolving digital landscape and as such live their lives in a constant state of beta.”

Undeniably, these characteristics are more common amongst the millennial age group than any other. Hunt’s assertions are based upon over a decade of research by Havas Worldwide, who surveyed more than 50,000 adults from around the world in creating their Prosumer Report[i]. In our own research, we spoke to Kristian Webb, a cardiac device specialist who started pacemakerplus.com because he was concerned about the misinformation patients found in the media and online. Webb’s DIY initiative and passion for protecting the wellbeing of others are typical of his millennial age.

However, who’s to say that a Gen X or Baby Boomer couldn’t hold these characteristics too? Indeed, there’s evidence to suggest that more mature generations, who worked away industriously in their youth, may have been inspired by their children’s pursuit of quality of life over career progression. Travel trend studies suggest that 55 year olds are more likely to take a touring holiday than the traditionally young backpacker demographic[ii], whilst one in five older people volunteer for two or more charities[iii].

And according to our investigations into the mHCP, there are plenty of examples of professionals who fall outside of the millennial age-range but possess their traits. Take Dr. Jack Kreindler for example; a medical technologist and investor, whose career demonstrates the sort of diversity and push for progress (not just progression) typical of a millennial, despite him being a touch mature to be strictly classed as one. Kreindler paid his way through medical school by working as an IT consultant, before progressing to A&E, specialising in high-altitude medicine, and eventually founding a sport-science-based practice, whilst also investing in practices driven by machine learning.

Pharma should be excited about engaging mHCPs, but it should also be prepared for change. This is a dynamic group of professionals, set on shaking things up and doing things their way. Moreover, it’s a generation who are influencing those who came before them as well as those who will follow, in an era when technology is empowering all; from clinician to carer, from grandma to grandson. As such, it might be time that our own definitions of generational characteristics exist in a constant state of beta too.

[i] http://www. havasww.de/ fileadmin/user_ upload/multimedia/ strategie/ prosumer_report_ millenials.pdf

[ii] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-2162537/Travel-trends-Over-55s-likely-globetrot-young-generation-theyll-book-online.html

[iii] http://www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/news-and-events/news/1-in-5-older-people-volunteer-for-2-charities-or-more

[i] http://www. pewresearch.org/ topics/millennials/