A change in scenery: the millennial workplace

Image credit: ITU Pictures

“Welcome to the ball pit cocktail bar,” the video caption reads. “250,000 balls and lots of lights.” The caption is accompanied by, true to word, a massive ball pit illuminated by gently strobing lights, silhouetted figures leaping into it, and eccentric drinks ranging from those that glow to those that flame. The video, which appeared on Facebook page Tasty, is just one in many featuring similar novel enterprises – Glowy McGlow might be London’s first ball pit cocktail bar, but it is far from the first of such entrepreneurial efforts. Entrepreneurship is, of course, an age-old concept, but millennials have seen it manifest in new forms, carrying the rest of the world along with it on a tide of new trends. Observe the iPhone, Facebook, Buzzfeed, the Silicon Valley rise, even Californian restaurant Project Poke’s invention of the sushi doughnut. They might come from a range of industries, but they offer jobs that would not have been available just a couple of decades ago.

The 2016 BNP Paribas Global Entrepreneur Report found that these “millennipreneurs” are “creating an increased number of companies, both in the new economy and traditional sectors”; millennials are starting their first businesses at an average age of 27.7, compared to their baby boomer predecessors at 35.4. Millennials are expecting higher profits, as well, with the expected 2015 gross profit margin being 32.6 per cent; women, too, were found to be “slightly more successful than their male counterparts”, and [to] have high expectations”. The aforementioned diversification of jobs is likely a major reason for the rising trends in entrepreneurship, both in new and traditional economies. We face a wider array of jobs than our parents and grandparents, including many which would never have existed when they were at our age. Products like the iPhone presented a new range of possibilities and options when first sold, while ball pit cocktail bar Glowy McGlow and Project Poke’s sushi doughnut are representative of entrepreneurial spirits in the food industry, the combining of old, traditional elements to create something entirely unorthodox and exciting.

Some might dismiss these projects as fleeting pieces of novelty, products of flimsy millennial trends, but they are reflective of a wider issue across industries today. With greater transparency, marketplaces, and the sharing of ideas, creativity has become key to entrepreneurs standing out. Quality in products and companies still matter a great deal, of course, but many sectors require an extra mile. While older generations might dismiss new trends, they are born, to some extent, from necessity. It is a conundrum – we face greater opportunities, but also greater pressure to still be more different. There are those who choose to enter traditional industries but rework their efforts within them, such as modern speakeasies selling the idea of exclusiveness and of a retro touch, and those who choose to branch out completely into new economies, like the development of artificial intelligence. Ideas like the cocktail ball pit thus deserve some credit, for succeeding, however briefly, in capturing attention in a widely competitive industry.

Such fierce competition, and increased demand for the new and creative, have already given us products like Tesla cars, Spotify, and Kindles, touching our lives in varying levels of subtlety. It has also seen young entrepreneurs take risks and fail, but this is a generation of courage, of risk-taking, and by normalising and acknowledging the possibility of failure, we are enabling potential to be fulfilled. We are built, too, on the innovations and ethics of our predecessors, but it is also the way in which we contribute our own that will successfully carry the world forward. 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Related Stories

In this section

Across the site

Best of the Rest