EFI Focus Study "Innovations for and by Older People"

According to public opinion, demographic change is often considered obstructive for innovations. However, elderly people are not at all hostile to innovations and should thus be involved in the process of innovation. Additionally, participation of elderly people in society demands innovations.

The first part of this project analyses the relationship between demographic ageing and innovations. The focus will be on elderly people as innovators and how their full potential can be tapped. We do not only consider innovations in products, processes, services or organisations, but also social innovations. We aim at identifying barriers to the inclusion of elderly people in the process of innovation. The focus is on employed persons aged 50 and above. We analyse innovations of older employees, business formation, self-employed persons, voluntary work and good-practise examples from foreign countries.

In the second part of the project, we focus on innovative tools and aids which help persons aged 65 and older to cope with their everyday life. In this context, both participation in innovations and facilitated by innovations play an important role. We thus address questions regarding technical or economic entry requirements. We do not only focus the first stage in the process of innovation, but also acceptance and diffusion of technical innovations, tools and aids. The main topics of our analysis will be mobility, housing and neighbourhood, health, wellbeing and prevention as well as care and rehabilitation. We will also address the potential of innovations regarding value added and welfare and their impact on the participation of elderly individuals in society.

Regarding the methods we apply, we analyse literature and data, derive a set of indicators, conduct interviews with experts and organise workshops. Based on the results of these modules, we derive recommendations for actions, especially regarding innovation policy.

In cooperation with:

  • Prof. Dr. Daniel Buhr (Steinbeis Transferzentrum Soziale und Technische Innovation)

Commissioned by:

  • Expert Commission on Research and Innovation

Project team:

Contact Person:
Dr. Natalie Laub ( +49 7071 9896 19 // E-Mail )


2022 - ongoing