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Exploring new patterns of user involvement – baby boomers and the future of consumption

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  • Peine

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  • Ingo Rollwagen
  • Louis Neven
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    Abstract

    Demographic aging is among the most striking challenges industrialized economies face; it will lead to profound changes in consumption structures. How these changes will affect innovation, however, is thus far not well understood. In this paper we strive to make a first step towards closing this gap and establish the challenges associated with demographic aging on the map of innovation scholars. For this purpose, we present empirical results of our research into the modes of thinking that underlie design processes targeted at older persons. These modes are limited in two ways—they concentrate on older persons as being characterized by generic, age-related decrements, and they frame older technology users as passive recipients of technology. Current design practices for older persons, therefore, imply a threefold risk. They are likely to generate technology that is unattractive for older consumers, that provides limited cues for meaningful activity, and that suppresses the co-creational inputs of older persons to innovation. To rectify this, we propose a symmetrical perspective on the relationship between technology and aging that revolves around older persons as active consumers of technology. We discuss implications for innovation scholars and practitioners and conclude with more fundamental propositions regarding the distribution of tasks between consumers and producers.

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    File URL: http://www.geo.uu.nl/isu/pdf/isu1202.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Utrecht University, Department of Innovation Studies in its series Innovation Studies Utrecht (ISU) working paper series with number 12-09.

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    Date of creation: Sep 2012
    Date of revision: Sep 2012
    Handle: RePEc:uis:wpaper:1202

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    Web page: http://www.uu.nl/faculty/geosciences/EN/research/institutesandgroups/researchinstitutes/copernicusinstitute/research/Innovation/Pages/default.aspx

    Related research

    Keywords: Aging; innovation; script; gerontechnology; consumer; co-creation;

    References

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    1. Evans, R.G. & McGrail, K.M. & Morgan, S.G. & Barer, M.L. & Hertzman, C., 2001. "Apocalypse No: Population Aging and the Future of Health Care Systems," Centre for Health Services and Policy Research 2001:3r, University of British Columbia - Centre for Health Services and Policy Research..
    2. Baldwin, Carliss & Hienerth, Christoph & von Hippel, Eric, 2006. "How user innovations become commercial products: A theoretical investigation and case study," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(9), pages 1291-1313, November.
    3. James Banks & Richard Blundell & Sarah Tanner, 1995. "Is there a retirement-savings puzzle?," IFS Working Papers W95/04, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    4. Michael Hurd & Susann Rohwedder, 2003. "The Retirement-Consumption Puzzle: Anticipated and Actual Declines in Spending at Retirement," NBER Working Papers 9586, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    7. Franke, Nikolaus & Shah, Sonali, 2003. "How communities support innovative activities: an exploration of assistance and sharing among end-users," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 157-178, January.
    8. Melanie Lührmann, 2007. "Consumer Expenditures and Home Production at Retirement - New Evidence from Germany," MEA discussion paper series 07120, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    9. B. Douglas Bernheim & Jonathan Skinner & Steven Weinberg, 1997. "What Accounts for the Variation in Retirement Wealth Among U.S. Households?," Working Papers 97035, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
    10. Fleck, James, 1994. "Learning by trying: the implementation of configurational technology," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 637-652, November.
    11. R.G. Evans & K.M. McGrail & S.G. Morgan & M.L. Barer & C. Hertzman, 2001. "APOCALYPSE NO: Population Aging and the Future of Health Care Systems," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 59, McMaster University.
    12. Joaquim Oliveira Martins & Frédéric Gonand & Pablo Antolín & Christine de la Maisonneuve & Kwang-Yeol Yoo, 2005. "The Impact of Ageing on Demand, Factor Markets and Growth," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 420, OECD Publishing.
    13. Belk, Russell W, 1988. " Possessions and the Extended Self," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(2), pages 139-68, September.
    14. Aaron C. Ahuvia, 2005. "Beyond the Extended Self: Loved Objects and Consumers' Identity Narratives," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(1), pages 171-184, 06.
    15. von Hippel, Eric, 1976. "The dominant role of users in the scientific instrument innovation process," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 212-239, July.
    16. Leonard-Barton, Dorothy, 1988. "Implementation as mutual adaptation of technology and organization," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 17(5), pages 251-267, October.
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