Do lead users cooperate with manufacturers in innovation? Investigating the missing link between lead userness and cooperation initiation with manufacturers

Dietfried Globocnik, Rita Faullant*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Past lead user research has provided strong empirical support for the claim that lead users tend to innovate independently. While the innovation activity itself is well documented, little is known about whether users' ideas and solutions also reach manufacturers' organizations. Recent research indicates that the majority of user discoveries remain limited only to local use and are rarely presented to a wider circle of other users, business angels, or manufacturers. This limitation presents a problem because if manufacturers do not have access to users’ needs, ideas, and solutions, they might fail to recognize essential opportunities for innovation. Therefore, this research studies the question of whether lead userness and expected recognition from manufacturers and peers explain the user's inclination to cooperate with manufacturers. We study cooperation initiated from two different ends: users pro-actively approaching manufacturers with problems and ideas and users participating in manufacturer-hosted innovation workshops. Drawing on lead user theory, we develop hypotheses and test them with two empirical studies with nurses and pharmaceutical technical assistants. The results provide support for the argument that a superior trend position and high expected benefits are strong and reliable predictors for both investigated forms of cooperation. The results on the effect of recognition from the manufacturer and peers are mixed, indicating that expected process benefits are less important.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102187
JournalTechnovation
Volume100
Number of pages14
ISSN0166-4972
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021

Keywords

  • Cooperation
  • Front end
  • Lead user
  • User innovation
  • User-manufacturer interaction

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