The Future of Associations

Recently, I attended the Association of Professional Futurists (APF) in Pittsburgh for the “The Resurgent City and the Future of Urban Environments.” It was a great conference! It has been on my radar, and I have been told by the media, that the Millennials and Generation Z have not been attending and joining Professional Associations like the generations before them. It got me to think why that might be.

ground group growth hands
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One of the reasons is probably cost. They simply do not have the financial opportunities that have been afforded us older folks. With the “gig” economy and such, it’s harder to make those big bucks that Corporate America use to pay to the older generations.

Another reason may be it is much easier today to connect via social media and all thing’s Internet so that you don’t have to pay anymore to have access to others in your field. One does not need an organization to help you network as it is much easier to find your tribe!

At the most recent World Future Society (WFS) in Chicago the format not only suited the lower numbers in the association but I think it also suited the younger generations as well. The presenters were all younger than boomer age except one. They all told stories  to engage and it was much more interactive. Many of the boomers that attended were not happy with these changes, but my opinion is they were dissatisfied because it was just different from their preferred style of presentations.

accomplishment achievement adult african
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Perhaps it is time to let the bigger demographic in the workplace  take leadership in the evolution of Associations and the rest of us need to get ready to adapt. We the older generation, need to change our attitude about how these types of gatherings look, along with our behavior. We need to explore their culture around this, and access the systems that encourage them in this endeavor. We need to get on board with championing them in the evolution for transforming this terrain.

Agree or disagree? I would love to hear your perspective as long as it is constructive and not rude. Thanks!

 

Author: Terry Collins

Foresight consultant and a lecturer and researcher at the University of Houston in the College of Technology. In the Project Management Department she teaches Leadership and Team Building to graduate students. In the Human Development and Consumer Science Department she teaches Human Ecosystems and Technological Change to undergraduates online. As a researcher she has worked in conjunction with the University of Houston Foresight Department and the Lumina Foundation on Student Needs 2025+. Led and mentored the "Emerging Fellows" blogging group for the Association of Professional Futurists. Has also mentored a group for the Women's Energy Network. Terry has given five presentations at the World Futures Society and two at the regional Project Management conference. She has appeared on “Great Day Houston” and moderated a Futures Panel at the Mensa regional conference. Terry has peer-reviewed publications in Foresight, Futures Quarterly Review, and On the Horizon She has a B.A. in Philosophy & a M.S. in Foresight

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