Note on Lead User Research

A possible alternative market for refrigeration technology is the electric car industry, where refrigeration technology could be used for electric engine cooling and vehicle maintenance. The lead users, in this case, would be “lead users involved with the important attributes of problems that users face” (Thomke & Nimgade, 2000). The first stage of lead user study should involve research into the cooling needs of electric vehicles, while the second stage should involve research into how refrigeration or cooling systems can be integrated into engines.

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What are the characteristics of Lead Users?

  1. Lead users feel the need or have the demand for a product before the rest of the market (Thomke & Nimgade, 2000).
  2. They expect to benefit largely from meeting their needs or solving the problems that they face.
  3. They have needs for products and services that do not exist in the market yet.

What are the three types of Lead Users?

  1. Lead users in the target application (Thomke & Nimgade, 2000).
  2. Lead users involved with the important attributes of problems faced by a product’s users.
  3. Lead users in analogous markets.

What resource commitments are required for the level of innovation that will support the alternative market?

            Financial resources and research experts are some of the resource commitments that will be required for a level of innovation that can support the alternative market for refrigeration technology. Financial investment will be necessary to purchase any necessary equipment for customization, while manpower will be necessary for research and installations.

How can Stage II: Trends/Needs Identification be conducted in a quantitative and scientific fashion?

            First, the trends and needs of the alternative market should be identified through interviews with the lead users and lead user experts (Thomke & Nimgade, 2000). Literature on the cooling needs of electric vehicles and engines would also provide insights into the needs and trends in the industry. Second, the researchers should select the various needs that will be met and focus on them.

Why is ‘Testing the Concepts’ not a stage of the Lead User Study?

            Lead users are different from routine users, which means that ‘testing the concepts’ cannot be included in the lead user study process. Routine users are involved in the ‘testing the concepts’ process.

References

Thomke, S. H., & Nimgade, A. (2000). Note on lead user research.

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