Lead user projects in practice: results from an analysis of an open innovation accelerator

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Earlier research on the lead user method is focused on individual case studies and how the method was applied in a specific context. In this paper, we take a broader approach, analyzing a sample of 24 lead user projects, which included working with 188 lead users. These projects were analyzed regarding their specific processes, resources, challenges, and success factors, using the data of an open innovation intermediary. The key finding is that a refinement and elaboration phase and the integration of designers are crucial success factors which, to date, have not been included in the literature. Moreover, crowdsourcing contests and netnography proved to be of significant value for the need, trend, and lead user identification phases. This paper concludes by discussing theoretical and practical implications, the limitations of this study, and recommendations for future studies.

Article number1850015
JournalInternational Journal of Innovation and Technology Management
Issue number2
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • lead user, lead user workshop, open innovation accelerator, User innovation