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Lead user roles and their functions: A framework
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Industrial Economics.
LTH, Lunds Universitet.
2013 (English)Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In this paper we develop a framework of lead user roles and their functions. Two of the roles, innovating and diffusing are explicit in the lead user literature. The third role, the preventing role, captures how lead users act not to let inferior innovations be developed or spread. This role is much more implicit in lead user research and has until now thus received relatively less attention. Following that a high percentage of new products fail, it seems important to consider how lead users could contribute to lower such failure rates by preventing inferior innovations.

For each role we specify functions. For instance, in their preventing role lead users may fulfil functions such as opinion seeking and use making. They may opinion seek their own innovation ideas in order to avoid developing inferior innovations and they may engage in use making (refers to persistently using an innovation with the purpose of convincing others of its superiority) in order to prevent diffusion of currently commercially available products. In specifying functions of each role we particularly pay attention to how functions within a single role, as well as between roles, are conceptually distinct from each other.

We argue that is important to elaborate on different roles played by lead users, for instance, due to that  even in situations when lead users develop inferior innovations themselves, they may play important roles by preventing other inferior innovations from reaching the market or by recommending an innovation they perceive to be superior. Based on our developed framework we provide directions for future research. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Lead userness, adoption, diffusion, innovation, opinion leadership, opinion seeking, prevention, use making
National Category
Economics and Business
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-10694OAI: diva2:854284
The 2013 Annual International Open and User Innovation Workshop, 15-17 July 2013 in Brighton, UK
Available from: 2015-09-16 Created: 2015-09-16 Last updated: 2015-09-22Bibliographically approved

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Sällberg, HenrikBengtsson, Lars
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ReferencesLink to record
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