Lead User Innovation: Exploring interactions between lead user and company

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User innovation and especially the integration of lead users is a key topic in the innovation management literature of recent years. This paper contributes by providing a rare perspective into what easily could be seen as innovation failure, shown from two perspectives. We show how a lack of shared imagination hampers participation and kills innovation between interdependent stakeholders at the threshold between invention and innovation in practice. We present a first case in the fun-sport industry where an external lead user and diverse firm representatives in different functions fail to create, deliver and capture the value of an innovatively new device together. From the perspective of the lead user, we show antecedents and effects of social interaction between organizational actors and the lead user on the development of social capital, especially trust and shared imagination. The second case covers the opposite view, where a company actively searches and involves lead users, however, with limited success also. Based on both cases, we analyze how, in these emerging processes of relating, meaning is co-created in a way that narrows the shared conceptual space for imagination and collaboration. Complementary, we look at the temporal development and reflect on what we see as key themes in this, such as the development of motivation and commitment over time and the negotiation of identity and trust in the ongoing processes of interaction. Finally, implications as well as limitations and further research are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPursuing Innovation Leadership : Proceedings of the 16th Continuous Innovation Conference
PublisherContinuous Innovation Network
Publication date15. Sept 2015
ISBN (Electronic)978-90-77360-18-7
Publication statusPublished - 15. Sept 2015
Event16th International CINet Conference: Pursuing Innovation Leadership - Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
Duration: 13. Sept 201515. Sept 2015
Conference number: 16


Conference16th International CINet Conference
LocationRoyal Institute of Technology


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