Is the Ageing of the Population Affecting Your Business? Premium

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Is it time to envision R&D centers in Nigeria? Recruit engineers from Yemen? Design computers for users aged 65+ in Japan? Yes, yes, and yes, say experts on demographic change. The aging of the global population represents yet another reason to adopt more polycentric talent and market management strategies.

As birth rates continue to fall and longevity rates to rise around the world, the median age of the global population is expected to increase from 29 years in 2009 to 38 years in 2050.

Prepare now for the aging of the global population:
1. Do like Panasonic does and source talent from beyond national boundaries: based in Japan, the manufacturer is mastering the art of talent management within the world’s first hyper-aged society. In order to respond to the challenges of current demographic change, Panasonic implemented polycentric strategies, such as training young recruits in R&D centers around the world.
2. Learn from Emporia how to target new markets: a pioneer in the design of portable telephones for seniors, Emporia CEO Albert Fellner is well aware of the opportunities associated with elderly consumers. Based on extensive research of the needs of consumers hitherto excluded from traditional markets, he built a company with sales that now approach €50 million per year.

Polycentric strategies require open borders
The free flow of people and ideas across international borders is essential to the adoption of polycentric strategies by business leaders. The American corporate environment shows that using talent from abroad can act as an effective countermeasure to demographic “brain drain”: 52% of the young founders of technology companies in Silicon Valley are foreign born.

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Is the Aging of the Population Affecting Your Business?

Business Digest no. 220, October 2011.

A synthesis of several publications, accompanied by interviews with Albert Fellner, CEO and founder of Emporia Telecom, and Max Miwa, Panasonic Tokyo’s head of R&D, Panasonic Corporation, September 2011.