Hannukainen, P., Mäkinen, S. and Hyysalo, S. (2017) Organisational adoption of the lead user method: A follow-up study on intentions versus actions. International Journal of Business Excellence 12 (4): 508-536.

Available here: http://dx.doi.org/10.1504/IJBEX.2017.10005589


ABSTRACT: Users have been shown to be a source of new product ideas, and some users also develop their own solutions. This is not a marginal phenomenon and innovating users – so-called lead users – can be found in all fields. The lead user method (LUM) has several documented advantages, but it has gained far less ground as an everyday approach among companies than more traditional user research methods. In this article, we examine the reasons why LUM is not adopted in an organisation after a successful pilot project. We use rich, longitudinal data from two case companies and find that despite stated intentions and enthusiasm, LUM is not applied repeatedly. Staff turnover, the time and effort required to conduct LUM and the difficulties of adjusting LUM to a specific context were found as reasons why LUM use did not continue. Most importantly, LUM adoption requires the transfer of the evaluative and procedural knowledge of how to conduct it, which appears to be difficult and effortful to transfer to and within the organisation.

Key Words: lead user method; LUM; lead users; organisational adoption; method implementation; user involvement; case study; comparative study