Title: The customer’s contribution to the innovation-process – a study of using customers to discover latent needs.
Level: Final assignment for Bachelor Degree in Business Administration
Author: Robert Klein
Supervisor: Agneta Sundström
Aim: The purpose of this study is to gain enhanced understanding of what knowledge costumers contribute with in an innovation-process lead by a producer of goods, and how that knowledge is used to fulfill latent needs. The area of research has formerly described which results customer-involvement lead to, but have been scarce in describing how results are produced.
Method: From a qualitative onset, a case-study collecting data through observations and interviews capturing customer knowledge contributions, and producer use of fetched knowledge has been conducted. Data has been analyzed using a grounded theory approach. Results have been processed in several steps in which material has been categorized and enriched continuously.
Result & Conclusions: Customer-knowledge is broken down into market-knowledge, everyday-knowledge, and specialist-knowledge, which all are significant to a producer of goods. The results contribute with new knowledge concerning customer knowledge in an innovation-process, and in addition an explanatory model of how producers of goods use customer knowledge to discover latent needs.
Suggestions for future research: The study has been conducted in an industry where customers can be expected to have a large degree of specialist-knowledge. Due to this circumstance it would be interesting to investigate how costumers contribute to the innovation-process in a different industry.
Contribution of the thesis: The knowledge being provided in the thesis is of value to any producer of goods who aim to use its customers in new product development, and also to scholars intending to study customer-orientation and innovation.
2014. , 54 p.