Gen Z Geared Up To Keep N.C. Economically Competitive.

2012 IEI Forum used to pilot innovative platform for collaboration, problem solving.


[North Carolina Department of Commerce Editorial Staff]

N.C. State University’s Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) wrapped up a two-day annual event at the Raleigh Convention Center on Tuesday. The theme of the 27th Emerging Issues Forum was "Investing in Gen Z." Speakers and participants holistically explored the impact of young people born since 1990, or Generation Z, on the workforce and economy in North Carolina.

Over 1,100 of North Carolina's most talented practitioners, academics, leaders and members of Generation Z engaged in conversations about the future during the event.  "Attendees have already told us that this year's Forum opened the minds of business leaders to the vast potential this generation holds for innovation, entrepreneurship and keeping N.C. economically competitive," stated Adam Brueggemann, program manager for IEI.

A successful piloting of technology that will be used in the Emerging Issues Commons was conducted during the event. Forum participants, as well as people across North Carolina, had the opportunity to use the Common's digital tools to submit over 200 ideas about how North Carolina can maximize its investment in Generation Z.

"This innovative use of technology is in keeping with Generations Z's approach of participatory civic engagement and is just the beginning of changes IEI is making to the way we engage North Carolina's citizens in improving our communities and state," stated Brueggemann.

Former North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt addresses participants of the 2012 Emerging Issues Forum, an annual event planned by the Institute for Emerging Issues, N.C. State University.

Opening in the James B. Hunt, Jr. Library in 2012, the Commons will be a place in the library—and online—where people and communities can identify promising solutions to emerging issues, form networks, develop action plans and get to work. Visitors in the Emerging Connections area will be able to use interactive data displays to unearth new relationships to North Carolina’s pressing challenges. With information and inspiration, visitors will then be able to move to the Emerging Ideas space and begin to address identified challenges. In Emerging Ideas, visitors will have the opportunity to gather around digital roundtables to debate solutions and identify innovative new approaches. This virtual space will have the capacity to allow anyone, at their desk or on their mobile device, to access the Commons’ dynamic tools.

Generation Z is positioned to revolutionize the workplace and positively impact business and industry, education and government. Participants were charged with pursuing careers and interests they are passionate about and creatively facing and overcoming challenges.

To insure the ideas developed during the 2012 forum are translated into change that will improve the well-being and economic future for Generation Z, IEI plans to facilitate follow-up work over the next year or so among groups that left the forum inspired to take action.

Planning for the 28th Emerging Issues Forum is underway. The event is scheduled for February 11–12, 2013 and will again be convened at the Raleigh Convention Center.

For more information about the Institute for Emerging Issues and its events and services, visit

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