How to teach Gen Z to be Collaborative, Innovative and Responsive

Monday, February 06, 2017

When I was eight years old, my third-grade teacher, Ms. Calov, taught me to be an inquisitive learner. Through her contagious enthusiasm, she turned me from an ordinary kid who did only what was required, to a perceptive student who asked for more projects and always connected what I learned to the world around me.

The kinds of soft skills I learned from Ms. Calov are increasingly important for Gen Z, the generation cohort after millennials. To be prepared for the jobs of today and tomorrow, these students need to be collaborative, innovative and responsive to their environment. Here's a look at how today's teachers are fostering curiosity, creativity and other skills in their students, with help from technology.

- Mark McCrindle

Encouraging collaboration

School is no longer just a place to learn math, science and writing. It’s a place to learn interpersonal skills that will never become outdated—like how to collaborate, resolve conflict, clearly communicate ideas and teach others. Technology can encourage this kind of interaction. For example, since Gen Z is the first digital-native generation, teachers are asking students for help using technology and to show their peers how to use new tools. Students are working on group projects when they’re in separate physical locations, developing their ability to communicate through written feedback and explain the thinking behind their suggestions.

Encourage lifelong learning and innovative thinking

Teachers today are encouraging students to have a love of learning and adopt an entrepreneurial mindset, so they can adapt to new careers and industries. The average employee tenure in the U.S. is 4.2 years, a decline from 4.6 years two years prior. In Australia, we’re experiencing a similar effect where employees are staying in jobs for a shorter duration—the Australian average is three years. This means Gen Z will have 17 different jobs in their life, and they’ll need to continue to learn new skills and how to use new tools as they progress in their careers. By designing learning tasks that have a real-world application, teachers are engaging their students as problem finders and problem solvers—roles that are crucial in any job.

Foster an adaptive mindset that’s ready for change

As the economy shifts and new jobs like VR engineers and cognitive computer analysts emerge, the next generation will need to be able to learn quickly and connect the dots between related topics. To teach these skills, many teachers are “flipping” learning —asking students to reflect on global issues and synthesize information from videos, podcasts and written material, instead of simply assigning a chapter in a textbook.

Six decades later, I still remember Ms. Calov. Her inspiration reminds me of a Mother Teresa quote: “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” Ms. Calov created many ripples by fostering a love of learning and empowering a community of learners. But with technology, every teacher can teach students lifelong skills to carry them through their careers.

Learn more by watching Mark’s recorded talk from Education on Air.

Introducing McCrindle Tea

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

At McCrindle, we deliver research that tells a story and believe research is at its best when it paints a picture, when it’s visual and when it’s research you can see.

We believe that research should be accessible to everyone, not just to the stats junkies. We’re passionate about turning tables into visuals, data into videos and reports into presentations. As researchers, we understand the methods, but we’re also designers and we know what will communicate, and how to best engage.

That is why we are excited to unveil our latest innovation – McCrindle Tea! We know we are moving into an era of data visualisation, infographics and presenting data visually, so we’ve created infographics on tea boxes. Why? Because we believe that statistics should be fun - like animation. People should be able to play with data. Research reports should not sit on shelves but be interacted with, and shared on social media, or printed on book marks or beamed onto buildings – or tea boxes!


The McCrindle Tea Infographics

More about bringing research data to life

Watch Mark McCrindle’s TedX talk on Bringing Research Data to Life, which is all about making research relevant through not just what methodologies are used but how the findings are communicated. In a world of big data we need visual data. In a world of information overload we need infographics. We don’t need more long reports as much as we need research we can see. When we see it, we are influenced by it and we act upon it.

Future proofing careers: How to stay relevant for tomorrow’s workforce

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

44% of Australian jobs (5.1 million current jobs) are at risk from digital disruption in the next 20 years, and 75% of Australia’s fastest growing occupations require STEM Skills - Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. Yet digitalisation is not the only thing affecting the change in tomorrow’s job market.

Population trends both nationally and regionally are redefining Australia. Demographic and social trends, such as emerging cultural diversity, the implications of an ageing population, household transformations, and increased mobility are creating significant changes. Workforce trends such as teleworking, tenure shifts, multi-career expectations, and emerging attraction, retention, and engagement factors are informing the demands on 21st century workers.

As these technological, generational, educational, and demographic shifts redefine job demands, it’s more important than ever before for individuals to be innovative, collaborative, proactive, and responsive to ensure they remain future-proofed for tomorrow’s workforce.

What does it mean to stay innovative?

In the next 10 years, there will be significant shifts to the labour market. There is a basic reality around job functions in developed economies with a relatively high cost of labour: everything that can be automated, will be automated, and every role that can be offshored to lower cost-base countries will be offshored. However, technology and business innovation will create new and diverse roles in areas that technology can’t compete. Roles that require creative input, people-focus, leadership skills or high-level communication talent can be futureproofed as they are not be effectively replaceable by technology.

Being Collaborative

It’s important not just to focus on academic outcomes but the people skills; not just the learning, but on the ability to work well with others. 1997 was the first year in which we began spending more time looking at screens than in in face to face interaction, and today, individuals spend over 10 hours on screens every day. In tomorrow’s job market, if someone has a good ability to communicate, motivate, and engage – they’ll go far.

Staying Proactive

In today’s flat-structured work environments, people need to be self-leaders and managers and stay self-directed. In previous decades it was the norm to have a very structured workplace with a chain of command where employers were looking for compliance rather than proactive innovation. Today there is the need for a self-starter mentality in every organisation – for employees at all levels to take charge and show proactive initiative.

Being Responsive

It’s important to keep eyes on the external environment. Individuals who can not only remain experts at their craft but extend their knowledge to various domain areas will stay future-proofed. A career that is future-proofed may in fact by its very nature change and adjust nearly every year. Be responsive and observe what’s happening around you.

By being innovative, collaborative, proactive, and responsive to the changes taking place, individuals can navigate the challenge of being future-proofed for tomorrow’s workforce.


Eliane Miles is a social researcher, trends analyst and Director of Research at the internationally recognised McCrindle. As a data analyst she understands the power of big data to inform strategic direction. Managing research across multiple sectors and locations, she is well positioned to understand the mega trends transforming the workplace, household and consumer landscapes. Her expertise is in telling the story embedded in the data and communicating the insights in visual and practical ways.

From the key demographic transformations such as population growth and the ageing workforce to social trends such as changing household structures and emerging lifestyle expectations, from generational change to the impact of technology, Eliane delivers research based presentations dealing with the big global and national trends.

With academic qualifications in community engagement and postgraduate studies in international development and global health, Eliane brings robust, research-based content to her engaging presentations and consulting. As a social researcher, she has been interviewed on these topics on prominent television programs such as National Nine News and Today, as well as on radio and in online media.


To have Eliane present at your next event, please feel free to get in touch via email to or call through to 02 8824 3422

Welcome to our blog...

We have a passion for research that tells a story, that can be presented visually, that brings about change and improves organisations. And we hope these resources help you know the times.

Our Social Media Sites

Facebook | McCrindle Research Social Media YouTube | McCrindle Research Social Media Twitter | McCrindle Research Social Media Flickr | McCrindle Research Social Media Pinterest | McCrindle Research Social Media Google Plus | McCrindle Research Social Media LinkedIn | McCrindle Research Social Media Mark McCrindle Slideshare

Last 150 Articles


children personal growth engage 40 million communication generations 2012 REIV National Conference australian social research shifts Financial Planning Association January 26th year 12 baby name award future of education twentyseventeen waverton Generation Y conference speaker 1980 NEETs Assistant Store Manager ease of travel food Christmas season Financial Planning Week suburb work mates government christianity demographer demographic transformations financial dreams South Australia media commentary lalor park motivate christmas socialites facts survey etiquette ACT emerging generations non profit relational deloitte moderators guide parenting ideas group session 24 million sydneysiders not-for-profit child care collaboration entertainment Generation X blaxland census research holidays offenders TDE Channel 7 Christmas presents school satisfaction visual generation Z Real Estate list couple teleworking learn Aussie conference cancelling event authenticity new york times resource sunburnt country researcher trend tuesday Gen Y gen alpha click easy rider Northern Beaches divorce rate internships housing affordability post rationalism entrepreneurs of today video skills Sydney organisations PSI Australian schools Tuesday Trends sun trends of 2016 education research Australian Communities Trends Australian Trends baby name trends gold coast recap 2020 optus royal baby social commentary unaffordable population newspaper Gen X follow communities interactive JOMO Myth Real Estate Institute of Victoria economy omnibus mother's day demographic baby names Australian demographics names research pack society commute visualisation ipswich daily telegraph cancelling plans The ABC of XYZ sydney event small business financial future social researchers winter blues organisational culture DESTEL professional development buildings schools students house Social Trend australian communities trends report CBD wellbeing celebration Australia Day 2017 focus group population milestone 2014 Royals university home ownership social media identity state wedding grandparents sydney speaker innovation stay home darwin rental stress high density living states social research IT Specialists village Netflix priorities hornsby infographic population map 2016 conference presentation Tasmania social impact Channel Seven area entrepreneur cloudy days city society trends budget teachers 1994 event repayments middle class Wodonga ACF 2016 internet slideshare community event gen z national wealth social analysis rain workforce youth business residents Love leader WA easter aussie culture Australian Census Sydney keynote speaker Hornsby Shire Council energy online shopping increasing densification property price optus my business awards Australia Day media activity sports Wagga Wagga focus groups poor home owner wealth millenials define survey design engagement market research retirement group weather leadership workshop hobart students data curiosity analysis friendship careers rise of local proactive emerging trends high school schools cost rising house prices dream English growing population Res Vis graphs cost of living World Water Day marrickville marketing ethnography youth unemployment father's day faux-cilising generation insights future proofing workshop property New South Wales alpha trend urban family tv news case study 23 million Northern Territory public speaking stats sunny days personalities networking mccrindle tea ashley fell Population Clock demographics princess charlotte brand fears customer suburbs wealth and income 24,000,000 results Northern beaches Event future of work statistics Crime Rates staying in investment workplace responsive teach generational trends 1968 summer wolloomooloo housing growth social life millennials internship social researcher perth sustainable tea employment 2013 typical australian baby boom household women product intern equip TAS transport publication global Australians The Daily Edition average aussie 2017 Territory future-proof kate middleton suburban living baby boomers mccrindle in the media clothing Aussies land of the middle class education future staff FOMO experience fresh world youth day men university degree online work greatness EFF future proof thrive sector wide study hello fresh February 16 Do It Yourself brisbane bondi acf15 ageing population HSC student rent participants resilience thought leadership Queensland: QLD australians staying home more media mccrindle research housing trends entrepreneurial real social trends education sector mccrindle socialising "know the times" moreton bay learning economic Queensland weekly earnings tableau population growth challenge the changing face of high density urban living tuesday Mark McCrindle career qualitative research townhouses sydneycity wealth and income distribution panel social change toys school students finance NT leadership menai megatrends in depth interviews high density apartments goal data visualisation home mortgage logan technology urban taskforce optimistic demographic trends communicate futurist Duchess of Cambridge social commentator study presentation australian communities forum forecasting New Zealand rule keeper life global generations renter of the future report sector employers households cars parents water sentiments national crime rates learning styles cultural diversity teaching divorce meals Australian Families vegemite narcissism google for education collaborative financial independence Australian Bureau of Statistics long weekend dessert Caregiver mining boom coffee living educhat hopes Western Australia housing market outsourcing lifestyle earnings 1975 presentations teacher know the times debate capital cities selfie mateship emerging technologies potts point eliane Financial Planning Association of Australia neutral bay affordable capital city 10 years tattoos Kirsten Brewer social enquiry salary Word Up going out brand experience renting social shifts pyrmont community engagement faux-cilise young people Australian Home ultimo domestic Tuesday Trend mythbusters year 7 speakers local communities events winter politics victoria Charlotte jobs of the future builders volunteers criminal cash mover and shaker mentor charity Births debt McCrindle Speakers communications goals wealth distribution global financial crisis Wellington tertiary education young australians house price owning a home generation alpha mobile rich research visualisation cooking gender Bathburst brands workplace culture snapshot affordability happiness education future report forum social lives research data housing school urban living index wages world keynote sector wide DIY house prices consumerism huffington post training vegetarian not for profit australia faux-ciliser Valentine’s Day manly hills shire innovative public holiday REIV Conference mythbusting language System's Architect holiday financial Deaths education cartodb Christchurch social prince george dreaming marriage business index crows nest cold insight families digital Northern Beaches Christian School dare to dream anzac jobs balance investor ABS national private wealth income Canberra nfp Scouts royal family professional learner environmental scanning culture trends of 2017 program NSW friends Melbourne educated annual income woolworths research services GPO apartment google property market trends church Australian Dream ashley mckenzie religion spend data analyst baby name predictions VIC royal influence plans SA local relevant New Zeland earn Engineering Manager trends analyst geomapping FPA Research Executive royal seasons shbc tips baby growth daily commute litter shopper's pick Education Future Forum ACF change poker master community future 2015 safe eliane miles overcast monarchy marriages environment Adelaide Christmas lunch Australian communities media release keynote speaker shopping Kiwi quote consumer Geoff Brailey professional speaker in the media crime work-life unemployment Merry Christmas low density paying to work cancel plans millionth