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Innovation

Lead user innovation – open innovation with trend setters

The chances of an invention's success can be controlled. Work together with advanced users and customers on the next innovation from your company. The lead user method is the open innovation approach, which supports you in this process. 

The challenge

Know the customers

Make customers the focus of development and at the same time pick up on future trends. 

  • Customer-focused innovation – but not focused on the average customer.
  • Identify and integrate lead users. 
  • Gain knowledge from similar fields.
The solution

Lead user method

With the lead user network, you develop the next breakthrough innovation.

  • We find the right lead users for your question. 
  • An international network with 30,000 experts from different industries. 
  • Find solutions together with advanced users. 
The result

Customer-focused

Listen to the market and address unspoken customer needs.

  • Customer-focused innovation with up to 8x more revenue potential.
  • Pursue the right trends.
  • Be one step ahead of customer requirements.
Open innovation

How does the lead user method enhance your innovation project?

How does the lead user method enhance your innovation project?

Lead users are highly advanced users and customers. They are often inventors or pioneers in their field. With their needs and requirements for products, processes, or services, you are ahead of the curve.

If you integrate lead users into the development process as early as possible, new developments will benefit hugely from this. According to an empirical study, anticipated revenues increase by up to eight-fold. The risk of failure is reduced enormously, because the results are closer to the needs of customers and users.

 

 

Inventive

Discovered by users: the mountain bike and World Wide Web

Discovered by users: the mountain bike and World Wide Web

A clique of cyclists developed a successful product out of bicycles. They felt the heavy steel frame, thick tires, and insufficiently effective brakes could be improved. Thus arose the mountain bike. Series production started in the 1980s and the mountain bike conquered the market.
The groundwork for the World Wide Web was done by Tim Berners-Lee. He thus resolved a problem for the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). The worldwide exchange of information made the work of scientists difficult. In response to this, Berners-Lee developed the page description language HTML, the transfer protocol HTTP, the URL, and the first Web browser and Web server.

Increase revenue potential

You exceed market expectations with the lead user method

  • An international lead user network with 30,000 experts 
  • 8 times more revenue with the open innovation approach
  • Over 200 successful lead user projects worldwide
  • Experience from countless industries 

Why we are the right innovation partner.

approach1
You increase the sales of your innovations. Lead users find solutions for difficult problems.
approach2
You know tomorrow's customer requirements. We offer you access to advanced users.
approach3
You accelerate your innovation process. We are connected to 30,000 experts around the world.
Product Folder LEAD User Method EN
Download

Request the free manual on the lead user method now.

With lead users, products, services, or even processes are developed in a customer-focused manner. Advanced users and customers provide valuable insights.

In this manual, you learn how the lead user method works in detail.

This is how we do it …

The three steps in a lead user project

  1. Together we limit the search area and define the objective of the lead user project. 
  2. We explore trends and the needs of potential customers and identify qualified lead users.
  3. The advanced users and customers meet in a lead user conference and develop concepts for breakthrough innovations. 

Die Lead User Methode entwickelte Professor Eric von Hippel in den 1980er Jahren am MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA). Die Methode beruht auf der empirischen Erkenntnis, dass Innovationen häufig nicht von Hersteller:innen initiiert werden, sondern Anwender:innen oft als die treibende Kraft hinter Entwicklungen stehen. Diese innovativen Aktivitäten sind nicht zufällig verteilt, sondern konzentrieren sich auf eine bestimmte Gruppe von besonders fortschrittlichen Anwender:innen und Kund:innen; die sogenannten Lead User.

Ziel der Lead User Methode ist es Produkte, Prozesse, Dienstleistungen oder Geschäftsmodelle zu entwickeln, die besonders marktnah und kundenorientiert sowie auf den Endanwender:innen ausgerichtet sind. Mit der Vorgehen folgt die Methode dem Ansatz von Open Innovation, was bedeutet, das die Organisation aussenstehende Menschen in den Innovationsprozess einbezieht. 

Lead User sind fortschrittliche Anwender:innen beziehungsweise Tüftler:innen, Pionier:innen auf ihrem Gebiet, die Bedürfnisse verspüren, bevor sie die breite Masse erst morgen haben wird. Lead User ziehen einen besonders großen Nutzen aus der Innovation, weil sie unzufrieden mit den bestehenden Produkten oder Prozessen am Markt sind und sie profitieren daher stark von einem neuen Produkt, einer neuen Entwicklung, einer Innovation.

In Lead User Projekten werden Durchbruchsinnovationen geschaffen mit denen Produkte und Prozesse den zukünftigen Bedürfnissen der Anwender:innen bestmöglich entsprechen.

Lead User Projekt

The lead user method

Professor Eric von Hippel developed the lead user method in the 1980s at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The method is based on the empirical finding that innovations are frequently not initiated by manufacturers, but rather that users are the driving force behind them. These innovation activities are not assigned randomly – they are concentrated on a specific group of highly advanced users and customers: the so-called lead users.

The objective of the lead user method is to develop products, processes, services, or business models that are especially focused on the market, customers, and end users. The procedure follows the open innovation approach, meaning that the organization includes third parties in the innovation process. 

Grafik_Lead User Projekt_EN

The lead user method

Professor Eric von Hippel developed the lead user method in the 1980s at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The method is based on the empirical finding that innovations are frequently not initiated by manufacturers, but rather that users are the driving force behind them. These innovation activities are not assigned randomly – they are concentrated on a specific group of highly advanced users and customers: the so-called lead users.

The objective of the lead user method is to develop products, processes, services, or business models that are especially focused on the market, customers, and end users. The procedure follows the open innovation approach, meaning that the organization includes third parties in the innovation process. 

Lead users are advanced users and inventors or pioneers in their field. Lead users draw a great deal of utility out of the innovation, because they are dissatisfied with the existing products or processes on the market.

We use this inventiveness in lead user projects. Breakthrough innovations emerge as a result, with which products and processes meet the future requirements of customers and users in the best possible way.

The methods

The lead user method

The driving force behind innovation is often advanced users with a sense for customer requirements and the markets of tomorrow. We use these attributes in the lead user approach: experts in our global lead user network enhance your innovation projects with a wealth of experience and active collaboration.

Service design

Customer-focused services leave a lasting impression. With the service design approach, we develop an understanding for customer expectations and needs together with you. With this knowledge, we design the interaction along the customer journey to be more intuitive. Consequently, you excite customers and trust in your brand grows.

Design thinking

Design thinking solves problems systematically and accelerates the innovation process. The customer-focused approach is suitable for the development of better products, services, and business models. In an iterative and agile design process, we analyze the problem, identify solutions, and test the result together with you.

Agile project management

With innovation projects, the result is mostly uncertain and requires agility, flexibility, and quick results. Agile project management simplifies the customer-focused development of high-quality innovations, especially in product development. Work in agile teams is efficient, and the results are quickly visible.

The innovation contest

The innovation contest allows new ideas to emerge in your company. An internal competition for ideas makes the creativity of your employees visible and unveils the unexpected potential of staff. You fill your ideas pipeline efficiently and with structure, while promoting a positive culture of innovation at the same time.

Innovationsprozess als Erfolgsfaktor einführen

Grundsätzlich geht es bei Innovationsprozessen in Unternehmen darum, einen klaren Rahmen zu schaffen, der festlegt, wie Ideen im Unternehmen eingebracht, wie sie weiterverfolgt und wie sie auf den Markt gebracht werden. 

Innovationsprozess als Erfolgsfaktor einführen

Grundsätzlich geht es bei Innovationsprozessen in Unternehmen darum, einen klaren Rahmen zu schaffen, der festlegt, wie Ideen im Unternehmen eingebracht, wie sie weiterverfolgt und wie sie auf den Markt gebracht werden. 

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"Everyone talks about innovation. And how important good innovation management is. Lead was the first to show how it works. And that was no accident: precise and detailed preliminary work, a structured and excellently organized Lead User Conference and a great and competent Lead team helped us to this success."

"The Lead User method came more than handy to us in order to bring the forward-looking customer even more into the foreground of our ideas than before. Because Vitrulan is regarded in our industry as an engine of innovation. This reputation fills us with a certain pride and strengthens our claim not to let up in any way in our innovative activities. We gladly accepted the offer of several years of support and advisory accompaniment from Lead Innovation Management GmbH in order to be able to realize the developed idea concepts in a professional, goal-oriented manner from the technical development to the marketing introduction in a timely manner."

Dr. Dr. Ildikó Amann-Zalán fmr. Head Medical Affairs & QM, Roche Diagnostics GmbH
Michael Gebhardt frm. Managing Director Vitrulan Textilglas GmbH
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Success Stories

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