Make innovation happen through combining

Aug. 27, 2019 [No.66-2019]

Professor Hiroyuki FUJIMURA
Faculty of Business Administration
Hosei University

Employment of Elderly Persons in Japan (4)
Make innovation happen through combining

It is thought that there are few cases in elderly people's knowledge and experience can stand on its own. However, new things that did not exist in this world may appear by combining different information with them. For example, adding an elderly person with vast overseas experience to a project team may broaden the discussion. Japanese social infrastructures are among the best organized in the world. Blackouts are rare, and railroad trains accurately start and arrive. Mails and packages are delivered on time, and you can buy anything you want almost around the clock. This kind of convenience is accepted as something natural when you have been living in Japan and you start to forget how great it is. Japanese people assigned to undertakings outside Japan first experience how inconvenient their new life becomes in comparison with that in Japan.

However, locals live normally in those places. Those people live comfortably, enjoy life, and put up with hardships and inconveniences. Japanese people who have lived abroad have personally experienced those realities and have given different thoughts about their stay overseas. They should be able to provide different viewpoints to young and mid-career employees who have no experiences outside Japan.

If we could create goods and services to promptly resolve the inconveniences of an aged society, we could sell them to other countries facing aging problems. Similar to how Japan had suffered pollution problems in the 1960s and then created the world's greatest pollution prevention technologies, a similar phenomenon could occur in this field. A society that has a quarter of its entire population aged 65 or higher is an uncharted area for mankind, so it is natural for us to feel uneasy. However, we could also think of it as a great business opportunity for Japan, as other countries are also heading toward an aging population. It is Japan's mission to serve as a model to the world by striving to take on bold challenges.

Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.