Title: Organisational adoption of the lead user method: a follow-up study on intentions versus actions

Authors: Pia Hannukainen; Samuli Mäkinen; Sampsa Hyysalo

Addresses: Department of Engineering Design and Production, Aalto University, P.O. Box 17700, FI-00076 Aalto, Finland ' Department of Engineering Design and Production, Aalto University, P.O. Box 17700, FI-00076 Aalto, Finland ' Department of Design, Aalto University, P.O. Box 31000, FI-00076 Aalto, Finland

Abstract: Users have been shown to be a source of new product ideas, and some users also develop their own solutions. This is not a marginal phenomenon and innovating users - so-called lead users - can be found in all fields. The lead user method (LUM) has several documented advantages, but it has gained far less ground as an everyday approach among companies than more traditional user research methods. In this article, we examine the reasons why LUM is not adopted in an organisation after a successful pilot project. We use rich, longitudinal data from two case companies and find that despite stated intentions and enthusiasm, LUM is not applied repeatedly. Staff turnover, the time and effort required to conduct LUM and the difficulties of adjusting LUM to a specific context were found as reasons why LUM use did not continue. Most importantly, LUM adoption requires the transfer of the evaluative and procedural knowledge of how to conduct it, which appears to be difficult and effortful to transfer to and within the organisation.

Keywords: lead user method; LUM; lead users; organisational adoption; method implementation; user involvement; case study; comparative study.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBEX.2017.085016

International Journal of Business Excellence, 2017 Vol.12 No.4, pp.508 - 536

Available online: 13 Jun 2017 *

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