Identifying hidden needs by enhancing organizational learning

Publication: Chapter in book/Conference proceedingContribution to conference proceedings


Hidden needs are defined as requirements that customers or users have but which they have not yet directly recognized. As these requirements rest on a subconscious level, users are unable to articulate them (Goffin & Lemke, 2004). The identification of hidden needs and the externalization of knowledge about needs are very important and highly valuable for organizations because it extends the range of possible solutions and therefore enables them to create more innovative and sustainable products and services. In literature and practice we can find different approaches and methods for identifying hidden needs. Most of these methods are market-driven and have therefore their origin in the fields of marketing or customer relationship management. Yet, little to no theoretical as well as practical work has been done to identify hidden needs as part of organizational learning. In this paper we introduce an extended learning approach which covers not only conventional learning based on experiences from the past but also learning from future experiences. This can be managed by literally envision a desired future scenario and thus enables the creation of radical new knowledge. Furthermore we focus on identifying hidden needs as part of this extended learning approach by using an abductive and qualitative method. So the research question of our paper is the following: “How does an enhanced organizational learning approach support the identification of hidden needs and the generation of additional knowledge about needs?” For our study we use data from a case study we have made with two groups of students at the university and we will discuss this case study in detail. Furthermore we will shortly present the main outcomes of other projects we have conducted in order to generate knowledge about needs. ...
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the ICICKM-2015 (12th International Conference on Intellectual Capital, Knowledge Management & Organisational Learning)
Editors Vincent Ribière and Lugkana Worasinchai
Place of PublicationReading
PublisherAcademic Conferences and Publishing International Limited
Pages117 - 124
ISBN (Print)978-1-910810-73-6
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 509018 Knowledge management
  • 502050 Business informatics
  • 102
  • 509011 Organisational development

Cite this