The Future of GOOD

Jesse Oxford
3 min readMay 5, 2023

Gen Z is already poised to be incredibly influential as a generation, but their perspectives on both truth and good may not be synonymous with older demographics. Research shows today’s 13 to 17-year-olds are trending to evaluate something that promotes good in the world around them as more important than knowing whether it’s true or trustworthy.*

At OX, where our mission is to help your work for good reach the world, we recently took time to explore what this shift in perception might mean for us, for you, and for the world.

Here’s what some of our team had to say:

In Gen Z’s lexicon, I judge that truth is a stand-in for judgment, exclusivity, and a binary way of thinking, whereas good is a proxy for love, inclusion, acceptance, health, and hope. Moreover, good as a notion seems to be outcome and impact-focused, whereas truth is inherently philosophically and ideologically focused. So that suggests to me that Gen Z is suspicious of theories and ideas (having seen them so poorly wielded by so many leaders for less-than-noble purposes) and wants to “cut to the chase” and judge the value of leaders, initiatives, or brands based on the results they deliver. Asking, “What is good?” Is it an honest reflection of the actual state of the world? It is the question of tired and disillusioned people who have been asked to carry too much and given too little in which to do it. And yet the question itself is hopeful; how do we celebrate and stand in honor of the hope?In all, a generation asking “What is good?” is asking for honesty, authenticity, and simplicity — a space to take a deep breath and remake the world as they’ve never known it… but courageously wonder if it might one day be.
-Tony

GOOD, I believe, never changes. Good is foundational to our human existence. Good means loving one another without judgment. It means being kind and lifting each other up. We can disagree on what is “true.” We can be proven wrong about “truths” over time. … but if we’re really honest with ourselves, I don’t believe we can disagree on what is fundamentally good. So OX can always stand behind GOOD.
- Katie

We need to invite Gen Z into the work of transforming lives — but we should do it in a way that is always honest. We shouldn’t over dramatize situations or outcomes. We should help them understand we are each human, trying our best to help other humans. We may not do it perfectly all the time, and we should acknowledge when we mess up. As a human brand, I think we should:

  • Be curious: stay open and thoughtful.
  • Be hospitable: consider others’ experiences and how we can care for them well.
  • Be transparent and human. We will make mistakes but press forward to keep growing and learning to elevate good.

- Amy

Our biggest hurdle will be in HOW we highlight the good our partners are doing. It’s a huge opportunity to grow the audience that participates in the good our partners do. We can focus our creativity on ways to engage the world in new and transcendent ways, help ideate on how good is spoken of, how it is envisioned, how people are invited in to participate, and how it is funded.
-Jen

*Barna Group, The Open Generation, 2022. n=24,870 teens ages 13–17 across 26 countries. Data collected July 21 — August 24, 2021

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Jesse Oxford

Hi, I’m the Founder of OX Creative. These are my thoughts on faith + the creative habit.