Silver Age Innovators

Britt Östlund

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter

17 Citations (SciVal)


When designing innovations for the silver age, it is not sufficient to discover old people’s needs only. In addition, one also has to discover old peoples’ new roles as consumers, citizens and innovators. Since this is a group that until recently has been given few opportunities to make their voices heard, there is a need for methods that identify their needs and demands. More importantly, we need to study and use methods that reveal the sources of innovations behind their expressed problems and lifelong habits as users of technology. Three attempts to identify old people´s needs and demands by involving them in the design process are presented, drawn from design projects implemented in Sweden from 2005 to 2009. One project explores how the furniture market can be opened to new segments of older consumers. Another project concerns the development of services. The third project links older people's lifelong habit of watching TV to the development of communication via the television medium. The results were analyzed from two points of view: How do we recognise a need that can be explored in design? When discovered, how do we know that this is a worthwhile need to explore? The first attempt shows that older people can present needs as active users with expressed and specific demands; the second attempt shows that older users can have a need to support the solution to problems which are not yet expressed and activated; and the third attempt shows them as users with latent needs that originate from their lifelong experiences and needs to keep up with daily routines.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Silver Market Phenomen. Market and Innovation in the Aging Society
EditorsKohlbacher Florian, Herstatt Cornelius
ISBN (Print)978-3-642-14337-3
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics


  • silver age
  • old people
  • innovations
  • consumers


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