Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 15 credits / 22,5 HE credits
This study explores how high technology companies interact with their Lead User throughout the innovation process. Thereby, the study focuses on the interaction, after a company approached their Lead User.
By using existing literature on the Lead User, the process of innovating as well as the interaction with users in product development, an analytical model was developed. This model served as the basis for the interview guide as well as to present and analyse the empirical data. Due to the fact that this study looks at the Lead User interaction from a different perspective, where little knowledge exists, a qualitative strategy was pursued. In this connection, three companies within the high technology context were studied and a cross-case analysis conducted.
Based on our findings, seven conclusions could be drawn. Our conclusions are that: (1) high technology companies mainly interact with the Lead User through ordinary methods; (2) the content of interaction differs in each phase; (3) the outcome of interaction in each phase is mainly the same throughout the companies; (4) there is always one function responsible for the Lead User, which is the same throughout the innovation process; (5) the main incentive for the Lead User to cooperate is intrinsic motivation; (6) the studied companies do not interact with the Lead User when launching the product; and (7) the outcome of the Lead User interaction is seen as being products of a more incremental than radical character.
After presenting the conclusions, the implications were displayed. Thereby, the main implications are that companies are recommended to interact with their Lead User throughout the innovation process, in order to align their products to the Lead User’s needs and therefore to reduce the risk and uncertainty of failing on the market. In this connection, it also important for companies to get into face-to-face discussions, to get feedback and understand the needs of the Lead User. Furthermore, companies need to consider that the Lead User is intrinsic motivated, which means by allowing the Lead User to be part of the innovation process and having an influence on the development, companies do not need to provide further financial rewards. Additionally, the Lead User cannot merely be found outside the boundaries of the firm but also within the company.
2015. , 80 p.
Lead User, Lead User interaction, innovation process, aspects of interaction, high technology