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MT5003 - Innovation for the Silver-Haired Market

MT5003 - Innovation for the Silver-Haired Market

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Published by lastsplash
This article examines the examples of products that are designed for the middle-class silver-haired market,
due to the changes in demographics. By observing and predicting the consequences of changes in population, in terms of size, age structure, composition, employment, education status and income, it is possible to create innovative opportunities.
This article examines the examples of products that are designed for the middle-class silver-haired market,
due to the changes in demographics. By observing and predicting the consequences of changes in population, in terms of size, age structure, composition, employment, education status and income, it is possible to create innovative opportunities.

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Published by: lastsplash on Mar 08, 2009
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05/10/2014

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MT5003 Creativity and InnovationInnovation for the Silver-Haired Market
LIM CHING WU LESLIE
 g0603039@nus.edu.sg HT0063039YLecturer:
Prof HANG CHANG CHIEH
 
 
Centre of Management of Science & Technology
MT5003 Creativity and Innovation
1Leading authority on innovation and entrepreneurship, Professor Peter Drucker, outlinedseven sources or places to look for innovative opportunities [1]. These opportunities shouldbe monitored by those interested in forming an entrepreneurial venture. The seven sourcesinclude: 1)
the unexpected 
, 2)
the incongruity
, 3)
innovation based on process needs
, 4)
changes in industry or market structure
, 5)
demographics
, 6)
changes in perception, mood and meaning
, and 7)
new knowledge
. The first four arise from opportunities within theindustry, while the last three lies in the societal environment. In particular, this article willexamine the examples of products that are designed for the middle-class silver-haired market,due to the changes in demographics. By observing and predicting the consequences of changes in population, in terms of size, age structure, composition, employment, educationstatus and income, it is possible to create innovative opportunities. An example to illustratethis can be found in the toy industry of Japan.Affected by the falling birthrate, popular computer games and other foreign brands, Japanesetoy makers are tapping into the unlikely new market – the elderly. The first of 10-millionbaby-boomers born between 1947 and 1951 are hitting retirement age in 2007. The upside tothis change is that retirees can start spending their vast disposable incomes from savings andpensions. A survey by an advertising agency Dentsu, Inc., estimated the economic effect of baby-boomer retirement at about ¥7.7 trillion [2].In December 2004, Business Design Laboratory Co released the
ifbot 
, a 45-cm robot inastronaut suit, designed to converse with the elderly [3]. It is capable of responding toquestions and making conversations about the weather. It is also programmed with largerepertoire of songs, quizzes and old news stories, to help seniors with their mental agility. Itis used in a Japanese nursing home. However it was left mostly unused in the past two years
 
Centre of Management of Science & Technology
MT5003 Creativity and Innovation
2after initial interest by the residents for a month. Stuffed animals are more popular withresidents. The price tag of ¥495,000 for each ifbot may also be too costly for the middle-classaged Japanese [4].At ¥8,500 each, Takara-Tomy released the
Yumel
doll in 2005 which is more affordable forthe less affluent aged in Japan [5]. The Yumel doll, which looks like a sleepy baby boy, is atalking nighttime companion. It is equipped with six sensors and and IC chip to accuratelykeep track of owners’ sleeping patterns. The eyes of the Yumel dolls can open and close, andit is capable of 1,200 soothing phrases. 90% of Yumel dolls owners are women, aged over 50.Their children have mostly grown up and left home, and they do not talk much to theirspouses. The Yumel doll helps in communication.Other examples of toy robots developed for the aged population are Takara-Tomy’s
 HealingPartner Dacky
[6] (a robotic pet which response to touch and verbal communication), andNational Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology’s (AIST) seal-type robot
Paro
used for robot therapy [7].With estimated of 40% of population over 65 by 2055 [8], Japanese researchers are buildingrobots smart enough to serve the needs of the elderly. The other issue associated with theaging population is the shrinking of the labors force. This represents another opportunity forinnovations of new robots which will play a major role when there are not enough people todo those jobs [9]. Besides these issues, there are other consumer-driven healthcareinnovations arising from the aging population, such as products and medical procedures tomaintain youthfulness. By studying the various impacts of aging population, there are roomsfor many more innovations.

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