How millennials can drive innovation in manufacturing

Manufacturing is going through a metamorphosis driven by the ever-evolving complexity of consumer behavior, technological advancement, and market shifts. To gain a competitive edge, manufacturing companies require innovative products—innovation being a major driver behind business success. Hence, innovation, be it in technology, processes, or products, is playing a key role in all levels of manufacturing. For innovation to thrive, an environment where people with diverse expertise and experiences can collaborate, share ideas, and leverage multiple perspectives to solve challenging problems, and create novel opportunities, is required.



Today, this innovation is in the hands of millennials, baby boomers, and Generation Xers. The baby boomers are the first generation, including those born between 1946 and 1964. Then came Generation X, with those born roughly between 1965 and 1980, followed by the millennials or Generation Y. Because the baby boomers are now retiring and the Gen Xers are few in number, millennials have recently moved ahead of other generations to grab the largest share of the labor market. As per a report, millennials now make up 32 percent of the labor force in comparison to 31.2 percent for Gen Xer and 30.6 percent for baby boomers.

Who are the millennials?

Millennials represent a generation of “digital natives” born between the 1980s and the year 2000. They are tomorrow’s tech-savvy leaders, who think differently and do things differently in comparison to previous generations. Millennials enjoy their freedom, are actively connected to the Internet, and communicate intensively using social media platforms.

How can they drive innovation?

This is the generation who has grown up with the Internet and technology. Millennials are set to inherit the Fourth Industrial Revolution along with the exponential digitization that is disrupting every industry and transforming the way that we live, communicate, and work. But it’s not only the digital transformation that Gen Y is set to drive. With value systems motivated by more than just money, they are all set to drive innovation which will radically affect the way things work.

New ideas 

They have a different thought process and are brimming with new ideas which they will try to incorporate into any work assigned to them.

Accept change

Millennials are less resistant to change and better able to cope with extreme loads of changing information due to growing up with the Internet, social media, and mobile technology. They are the ones who believe in bringing change.


As they have grown with the Internet and technology, they are more technologically advanced than the baby boomers. They tend to use it in everything they do. Being both drivers and consumers of technology, they are early adopters of any new or advanced technology.

Learning matters 

70 percent of millennials rank the opportunity to learn and develop on the job as a top professional priority, states a 2012 study from Adecco. They have an inherent desire to grow continuously, innovate, and obtain proficiency. Prospective employers should find ways to offer these benefits through the profiles offered as well as through the training opportunities provided by the organization.

Enjoy challenges 

They thrive on challenges. Millennials didn’t let the fact that they were the new kids in town stop them from essentially dictating that an entire industry be designed around their whims and wishes.

Innovation is the answer to creative solutions and the route to getting ahead of the competition. Millennials are the medium to achieve it. For the effective integration of millennials into an organization, it is critical to facilitate the diversity of ideas required for true innovation to emerge.

Millennials prefer companies and organizations that offer meaning and purpose; a workplace characterized by flexibility, innovation, transparency, and environmental consciousness. Here are some ways to attract and hire millennials and make them a part of the manufacturing industry. 

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