The ongoing furore about hackers stealing Talk Talk customer data took a new twist this week with suggestions that large organisations should think about hiring the skills of the hackers. Unbelievably it appears that those responsible may be as young as 15 or 16; true digital natives.
The ease with which the hackers carried out their new world heist seems like an impossible feat to most of us who struggle with passwords, pins and general complexities of everyday digital life (digital dinosaurs according to a young colleague!).
At the other end of the generation game there has been much criticism of the government’s suggestion that new surveillance permissions should be decided by a group of experienced judges. According to the critics they are likely to be aged about 70; perhaps unlikely to be up to speed with the digital agenda. Counter arguments are of course that their experience counts for much more than digital knowledge.
Yesterday's press reported British Chamber of Commerce research claiming that school leavers were 'unemployable' due to poor communication skills. Worryingly, 1 million under 25 year olds are unemployed; 16% against a general population average of 5.3%.
Almost 90% of businesses cited communication skills as paramount with 69% choosing numeracy and 57% IT skills.
So what do we make of it all? As more workers are now aged 60 plus and the numbers set to increase, how do organisations manage to attract and retain the range of skills for the future? Not forgetting of course that digital natives are entering the workforce complete with the aforementioned skills and apparent deficiencies.
And of course the customer base is widening with the same digital natives commanding a wallet share although not so much as that of the older generations who are living longer and have pensions and real estate wealth far in excess of younger people.
This mix presents organisations with the age old problem of keeping most of the people happy, most of the time; within shrinking budgets as we remain hard wired to austerity.
We've had fun this year predicting future service scenarios with 34 household brands; the discussions and suggestions demonstrating that the future is already here amongst many of our members. The final results have been beautifully summarised to visuals; a picture truly paints a thousand words.
One thing stands out loud and clear; organisations will succeed only if they harness and unleash the potential of digital natives, whilst nurturing the skills and experience of knowledge workers to solve complex problems whether technological or emotional.
How can we expect talented young people to be creative and help build predictive services of the future, if they are straight jacketed in a mobile free environment, with their suggestions sent to committees, and processes built around what should be free flowing creativity?
I'm really looking forward to this debate taking centre stage with 400 industry professionals taking part in 'The Digital Game' on 25th November. New ways of thinking will be encouraged by Matthew Syed, author of the best seller ' Bounce' whilst the latest challenges and solutions are on show from Barclays, RBS and 02 Telefonica.
At the end of the day there will be no one size fits all, but each organisation must learn to mould their services into the footprints of their customers. Finding what's best means knowing and updating your organisations’ talents, strengths and challenges, and engineering the best and of course agile, fit.
As ever the world of advertising stretches our expectations; the latest advert from Vauxhall demonstrates a service offering which tracks car drivers; if they have an accident an operator calls them and if needs be, sends for emergency services. This sort of one step ahead service is what will soon become the norm across many sectors, but are we prepared?