Technology-Push Lead User Concept: A new Tool for Application Identification

Stephan Jung, Joachim Henkel

Publikation: Working/Discussion PaperWorking Paper/Preprint


The situation of technologies searching for market opportunities is a common one in technology-based industries. We add to the technology manager’s toolbox by developing a new tool for application identification. It is based on insights from user innovation and lead user research, with merits founded on economic theory hitherto not considered in this context. Since we borrow several steps from von Hippel’s lead user method but start with a given technology instead of a given application area, we refer to our approach as the “technology-push lead user concept,” short T-PLUC. It proceeds in five steps. First, one determines the relevant characteristics of the focal technology. Second, one searches for trends that are furthered by these characteristics. Third, one identifies markets in which these trends matter. Fourth, one searches for lead users, that is, users that are ahead of the market with respect to these trends. Fifth and finally, one develops product concepts jointly with these lead users. T-PLUC is differentiated from other methods by a stronger focus on dynamic aspects of needs (by analyzing trends) and on the leading edge of applications (by aiming at lead users). Using case studies, we illustrate the method and demonstrate its viability
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 1 Mai 2009