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

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  • Peine

    ()

  • Ingo Rollwagen
  • Louis Neven

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Peine & Ingo Rollwagen & Louis Neven, 2012. "Exploring new patterns of user involvement – baby boomers and the future of consumption," Innovation Studies Utrecht (ISU) working paper series 12-09, Utrecht University, Department of Innovation Studies, revised Sep 2012.
  • Handle: RePEc:uis:wpaper:1202
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    References listed on IDEAS

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