Towards a comprehensive understanding of lead userness: the search for individual creativity

Rita Faullant, Erich Schwarz, Ines Krajger, Robert J. Breitenecker

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


In innovation research the identification of lead users has attracted considerable research effort. While lead user research has made important advances, there is still a significant lack in terms of understanding antecedents to lead userness. Therefore the aim of this paper is to offer a framework which is rooted in creativity psychology in order to provide a more comprehensive understanding of who leading‐edge users are. It will allow for a systematic investigation and detection of innovative users. We conducted an empirical study in the field of small kitchen appliances in co‐operation with Philips Consumer Lifestyle, a field which lacks some of the typical characteristics that have been emphasized in markets traditionally studied in lead user research. With our research we show that (1) lead userness is fundamentally linked to individual creativity; (2) particularly creativity‐ and domain‐relevant skills (cognitive style, product knowledge and use experience) are related to lead userness; (3) creativity‐relevant skills can be explained by personal characteristics, such as education, gender and openness to experience.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCreativity and Innovation Management
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)76-92
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

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