Galápagos Syndrome

When Charles Darwin visited the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific, he was on a quest to find novel species. He visited each island and observed that on every island tortoises and finches had developed separately. A resident explained him that these changes were the result of the availability of food. Decades later this information helped him to coin his Theory of natural selection in his book 'On the Origin of Species' (1859).
The Galápagos Syndrome is a term of Japanese origin and refers to an geographically isolated development of an otherwise globally available product. The term was originally coined to refer to Japanese 3G mobile phones, which had developed a large number of specialized features and dominated Japan, but were unsuccessful abroad[1]. More generally speaking, the Galápagos Syndrome is the psychological result of Japan’s somewhat isolated position as an island nation[2].

The Galápagos Syndrome can also be applied elsewhere.Car manufacturers may keep producing outdated models or models that only attract customers in the home market.

[1] Natsuno: Why Japan’s Smartphones Haven’t Gone Global in New York Times - 19 July 2009
[2] Dyloco: The Galapagos Syndrome and Japanese Cell Phones in Gajimpot - 08 November 2010

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