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Overcoming Future Uncertainty in Service Economy: Possibilities of Anthropological Methods for Innovation in the unpredictable Japanese Market
Enterprises are facing future uncertainty, and manufacturing companies are required to be more creative and innovative in their approach for a breakthrough. It has been observed that for products to sell well, technological advances in products is not enough but to prioritize consumer experience. Thus in recent years, discussions on the structural shift from manufacturing to service have been in the spotlight and service economic growth and service development by manufacturers have accelerated. One of the popular discussions is the Service Dominant Logic (SDL). This theory regards all economic activities as services, and grouped into services which sells products and services without products. It differs from the Goods Dominant Logic where logic centers around products, and grouped into goods or services. Therefore, even manufacturers can be regarded as service providers when they provide service with the use of goods. For instance, shoe manufacturers can offer the service related to “the fun of running in the city” and selling shoes will only be a part of the service. This approach inevitably places importance on customer experience and values. Aside from these macro discussions mentioned above, there is a micro theory called Jobs-to-be-done (JTBD) theory which focuses more on consumers' experience. The JTBD theory also sheds light on daily behavior of what consumers would like to do. Ethnography is a useful research method to grasp what consumers would like to achieve (JTBD). Against this backdrop, this paper explores the possibilities and opportunities of anthropological methods in present-day Japanese service economy.