Unpacking the Y

Unpacking the Y add

Millions of Generation Y designers have grown up with the likes of Mark Zuckerberg – Facebook entrepreneur – who impacted society and made millions with an idea, an app or a game. These young people, born in the 1980s and 1990s, are extraordinarily connected and share everything in an instant.

ADNZ member, Venezuelan born, Italian and New Zealand citizen Belfiore Bologna manages the Bachelor of Architectural Studies and the Diploma in Interior Design programmes at Ara Institute of Canterbury and also has his own practice. It’s his job to teach mainly Generation Y.

"Their logic is different from ours," he says. "They have such an interesting way of thinking."

Belfiore says it is too easy for Generation X and older, to expect younger people to 'suck it up' and slot into the existing regime.

"They [Gen Y] have watched as we have spent years studying, and slowly working our way to where we are today. Yet they see examples of how success can be achieved just from an idea and harnessing the technology they live with day to day. I'm not saying they don't need to train and be educated, but we - the industry - can learn a lot if we are going to expect them to contribute and also if we want young people to flourish and be an asset to a business. It's all about give and take."
Belfiore has noticed younger people need to 'unpack why'.

"It's not because they are challenging the system - they just need to know the reasons before they go down a path and dig deeper. They are trying to make sense of it and understand. They are interesting self-learners who share everything and are incredibly, visually connected and share information in a flash - spreading around the world in an instant.

"The biggest ask for the design industry and where the benefit will come from, is being prepared to invest the time into explaining 'the why' behind the way we do things. There is such an immense world of other things they could be doing that will steal their interest. This is the way they are wired. Of course there is a huge temptation for Baby Boomers and older generations who have had to work their way up to dismiss this. But wait a second - these are the people that are going to help companies grow. We've got to remember, it works both ways."

Belfiore has adopted traits of his students and is himself highly connected. As an ADNZ member he is a conduit between industry and training, while maintaining his practice, Design Factum. He was recently appointed Honorary Consular Agent for Italy by the Italian and New Zealand Governments, a role designed to foster and enhance commercial relationships between the countries.

Visit http://www.adnz.org.nz/, http://www.designfactum.co/ and http://www.ara.ac.nz/ for more.