People love to rip on Millennials, blaming an entire generation of being crappy workers. Individuals born between 1980 and 2000 have been accused of being unable to focus, addicted to incentives, feeling entitled to special treatment, using stupid excuses for not showing up to work, demanding flexibility, and wanting to make a difference in the world without actually having to work hard.

Rupa Ganatra disagrees with this kind of stereotyping. She is founding partner of the Millennial 2020 conference, a business summit series looking at the future of next-gen commerce in Singapore, New York and London. She's also an investor and recipient of several awards including Management Today and The Sunday Times "35 under 35 Women in the U.K." and "Top 100 in U.K. Tech." Here are her words on why Millennials are the most exciting generation the world has ever seen.

1. They are the most digitally savvy generation ever (so far).

Millennials are changing the way we do business. The way this generation shops, interacts with brands, and consumes content is unlike any other generation. We can learn a lot from [them] about how we need to future-proof our businesses to stay relevant. While Millennials are helping us evolve in the right direction, it is important to also learn more about Gen Z and other future generations.

2. They are changing the future of the way we work (for the better).

Millennials don't adhere to traditional work standards and are changing the way we work for the better. This can be seen in the decline in need of office spaces nationwide... [They are] adopting flexible working hours as an alternative approach to the traditional nine-to-five work day.

When I first began my career in investment banking, the workplace had a strict policy prohibiting working from home, enforced daily working hours and only allowed employees to leave once their boss left. This is no longer the case. From my own experience, I trust my team to take accountability for their work and [know they] are responsible enough to get the job done.

3. They are eradicating complacency and democratizing the business landscape.

While it can be unnerving that we are in a new business era where the landscape is evolving rapidly, this setting is forcing brands and retailers to try new things to evolve with the most powerful consumer of all time. The evolving landscape is also pushing companies to re-evaluate every aspect of their proposition including marketing strategy, brand proposition, design, supply chain, sustainability, employee engagement, and future sources of innovation. This means brands and retailers can no longer be complacent.

4. It's a generation that is willing to fail.

As I mature in my professional career, I am asked regularly about my failures as much as my successes. My failures are now being spun positively and framed as "teachings," "experiences" and "learnings." The startup culture--of which Millennials are founding over half of new businesses each year--is teaching us that you need to be willing to fail to succeed. If you don't try new things or test new ideas, you will not succeed. That's exciting.

5. There is a growing emphasis on social impact.

From embracing social impact and sustainability, Millennials want to make the world a better place. Looking at the Millennial 20/20 speakers from our (recent) New York Summit proves this is especially true across the board, whether they are brands with social impact embedded in their brand DNA like Warby Parker or embracing food product created from alternative sources of protein like Impossible Foods and Exo Protein. The perception of social impact is changing in business from a "nice to have" versus a "necessity to exist."

6. Millennials keep it real.

The Millennial consumer embraces transparency and authentic experiences like never before, resulting in an evolution of brand propositions and experiences. For example, Stephanie Linnartz, global chief commercial officer and EVP of Marriott, recently revealed that the company is testing local and curated experiences at various properties and that [the brand] now views [itself] as an entertainment brand first. Additionally, Katia Beauchamp, founder and CEO of Birchbox and Brooks Thomas of Southwest Airlines, amongst many others, [have] discussed [strategies involving] brand authenticity driven from focusing on real stories from real people.

Published on: May 8, 2017