Generational Research Strategy

Jason Dorsey and The Center for Generational Kinetics (CGK) are the leading experts on Millennials and Gen Z. CGK’s research around the world uncovers hidden insights and specific solutions that enable leaders to drive measurable results.

Read the Q&A below to get an inside look at Jason’s view on keynote speaking, research, and PowerPoint slides!

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Q&A: The Importance of Research in Keynote Speaking

1.) Why is original research important for your keynote speaking?

Because so much is said about generations that is not true! Not all Millennials are entitled, and not all Baby Boomers carry a checkbook. So, what is true? That is what I like to uncover through data and then bring to life through stories and research.

As The Center discovered, Millennials are actually breaking into two different generations, and Boomers can be very different depending on if they are older or younger Boomers. As you may know, Gen X was told they would be less successful than their parents, yet they have created some of the most innovative and world-changing companies! Separating myth from truth is key to taking the right actions.

I believe that leaders need and want to know the truth. And to get to that truth, you need statistically accurate data.

Research, particularly original generational research, gives you the insights and advantage you need to confidently inform your strategy, separate myth from truth, and make the right decisions. It’s these research-driven decisions that drive innovation, sales, marketing, management, trust, and—most importantly—measurable results. This is true with every generation.

I see my role keynote speaking as providing never-before-seen, accurate information in a very entertaining way that changes how your audience thinks about generations and drives action.

But there is a big difference between our statistically accurate research and what is all too often touted by speakers and “experts” as research…

2.) How does your generational research differ from other research?

At CGK, we lead quantitative, qualitative, and behavioral design research. We lead this research for clients around the world and to inform our own ongoing studies of generational change. We are constantly studying Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Baby Boomers, and Traditionalists.

Our quantitative research generally has a margin of error of +/-3.1, which is the gold standard for statistically valid national studies. Our research is led in-house by a team of Ph.D. researchers who have led research studies for diverse clients around the world. This enables us to add our deep generational expertise and cross-industry experience to every research study and for every speaking client.

Some speakers claim to be researchers, yet they don’t lead their own research—or more concerning, they pull data they find on a Google search and call it research. Our research team has led up to 17 research studies at the same time with fielding on four different continents. And we do everything in-house.

This is why our speaking clients often hire us to review their internal data to bring new insights to it by applying our unique Generational Context™ approach. Audiences love that, too.

In short: I am a geek about generational research and data. I love seeing discovering the data says so that we can constantly evolve our thinking about generations! The promise of good research is that you don’t know what you’ll find, but what you do find, will be accurate and you can put it to use right away.

3.) You’ve said “data” a lot. How many slides are in your keynote?

Drum roll please…… 10 to 12. That’s it.

If you’ve heard me speak, you know I use very few slides. This allows me to interact with the audience throughout the presentation rather than read from a slide or chart. I don’t believe in boring speeches! 10 to 12 great slides are plenty for a 45 to 90-minute keynote.

With great data and energy, you don’t need a lot of slides. And most people don’t want to read a lot of slides! You just need enough surprising data to create “wow” moments throughout the presentation.

However, for half or full-day breakthrough programs, corporate board meetings, private equity events, VC summits, and other data-heavy events, I can include more slides that reveal our latest data specific to your strategies, portfolio, operating companies, region, industry, or priorities.

I work with you to align my presentation with your most important outcomes and build the deck for your audience as part of our in-depth customization process!

4.) What do you think makes you unique as a generational speaker?

Clients tell me after an event that what make me unique is my high energy, “wow” insights, personal stories, and delivering ready-to-use actions. They say I’m funny, too. (but you should see for yourself) I get fired up sharing what our research team uncovers, especially when we bust through a myth like all Millennials acting entitled or Gen Z being disconnected from reality. I also love seeing leaders taking notes as fast as they can so they can go back and implement all the specific actions I share in my talk. It’s important for me to see an audience engage from the first minute to the last minute.

I also have fun on stage and I think people can tell.

I like to think of it this way: Energy + Insights + Stories + Practical Actions = A Great Keynote

5.) How many generations work at your speaking and research company?

Four! We employ Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers in our office. We also run an internship program for first-generation college-bound students. In addition, I’m a Millennial, married to a Gen X’er, and we have a Gen Z daughter!

Our team lives and works in the same multi-generational experience that our clients are trying to lead across and solve challenges within. I think that helps us to better serve them.

Jason’s Key Discoveries:

  • Millennials are breaking into two different generations
  • Millennials are not tech savvy but tech dependent
  • Gen Z may leapfrog many Millennials in the workforce
  • For Gen Z, 9/11 has always been history
  • Technology is rippling up from the youngest to the oldest
  • Generations are not boxes, but powerful clues

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