Sampsa Hyysalo, Pia Helminen, Samuli Mäkinen, Mikael Johnson, Jouni K. Juntunen & Stephanie Freeman:

Intermediate Search Elements and Method Combination in Lead-User Searches


ABSTRACT: Users play an increasingly important role in product and service innovation. Finding the right users can require substantial search effort. Network searches are increasingly popular in searching for rare lead users. In these searches, implicit and inexact referrals have been found to comprise a substantial number of network referrals; numbers as high as 70% of the most important referrals to sought people have been reported. To aid handling such referrals during network searches, we explicate their status as intermediate referral types, and how these referral types relate to known search methods. The constraints set by intermediate referrals could potentially be overcome and their potential be capitalized through more extensive method combination in network searches than has been trialed to date. We proceed to offer a proof of concept for such searches through documenting how we ran them in four realworld searches and chart future research avenues.

Keywords: lead users; user innovation; network search; pyramiding; intermediate referrals; implicit referrals; inexact referrals; combinatory search; rare research subjects

Hyysalo, S., Helminen, P., Mäkinen, S., Johnson, M., Juntunen, J. K., & Freeman, S. (2015) Intermediate search elements and method combination in lead-user searches. International Journal of Innovation Management, 19(1). doi:10.1142/S1363919615500073