Many developed countries including Japan are undergoing comprehensive demographic change, marked by a growing share of elderly people. Product and service innovation can play a role in coping with the resulting societal challenges, especially when these help to support the preservation of elderly people’s personal autonomy. The range of these age-specific innovations is enormous and includes, for example, mobility aids and household devices but also special financial products.
Is Japan a lead market for such innovations? Japan has experienced population aging earlier than most other countries, has an attractive market size, and is known for its discerning consumers. In the presentation the popular hypothesis of a Japanese lead market in age-based innovations will be discussed and challenged: A closer look will be taken at various case studies of age-based innovations (e.g. care robotics, financial services), influencing factors highlighted, and light shed on the questions, why Japan is or isn’t a lead market in age-based innovations and how the lead market concept applies to these products.
Theoretically, the work is based on the well-established concept of lead market theory, which shows that innovations frequently achieve global acceptance when they were previously successful in the product-specific lead market – making knowledge about lead markets a must for innovating companies!
Cornelius Herstatt is Managing Director and full professor of the Institute for Technology and Innovation Management (TIM) at Hamburg University of Technology. He is also a founding partner at the European Institute for Technology and Innovation Management (EITIM). Prof. Herstatt is a JSPS-Research and JSPS-Brdige Fellow. He has published various books and over 140 publications in the field of innovation and technology management.