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Innovation is in the eyes of the beholder: The case of the ageing consumers

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This research considers innovation from the user point of view in order to enhance the design and commercialization of technology-based products. Previous studies predominantly analyse innovation as a function of technology advantage; that is how new competitors who have advanced research and development (R&D) can challenge the incumbents’ position. However little is understood about the potentially ambiguous position that technology-based products may have on the market due to the diverse perception that different market segments may hold of such products. Consequently innovations studies are limited in overlooking innovation as a function of users’/consumers’ perception. The findings of this research reveal that innovation may be disruptive and evolutionary at the same time for different consumer groups. Consumers’ perception of technology products can influence their decisionmaking pre-purchase as well as their level of adoption. Analogical learning, or the inability to apply it, is in part responsible for the choices that consumers make when considering whether to purchase, use and discard technological products. Exposure and familiarity with the product category are also factors that influence consumers’ perception, especially among the ageing segment of the population. The ambiguity of products’ perception represents an unusual puzzle for businesses that are now required to alter design features and marketing communication strategies to appeal to different consumers despite the fact that the product is inherently the same from a business point of view.
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Keywords: ageing consumers; inferential analogy; innovation; innovation overload; product design

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Brunel University

Publication date: October 1, 2015

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  • The Journal of Design, Business & Society is a peer-reviewed scholarly publication for business leaders, managers, policy-makers, service-providers and design experts. It examines the complex nature of design and design thinking in relation to its effective application to solving real-world problems across commercial and broader societal contexts. It aims to promote cross-disciplinary design research which engages specialist and generalist stakeholders via qualitative, quantitative, visual or applied research methodologies, ultimately leading to tangible implications for current practice or clear direction for future work.
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