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Firmenprofil Innovation Produkte Projekte Referenzen

Lead Users are individuals, companies, institutions, advanced technologies, or some aspects from other areas, which are far ahead in the development of certain features. Lead Users have following similarities: They have high requirements on the products and services, have a high know-how and cannot wait till the market offers solutions for their needs. The Lead Users are going to find the solutions by themselves. 

That is the reason why Lead Users have high interest to co-operate in development projects.

Lead Users Research

 ... is an innovation process which traces Lead Users with their know-how and ingenious solutions by integrating the whole into the innovation-finding process.


  • Breakthrough-innovations are actually the aim of such projects and can be achieved in many cases.
  • Reaching of an established insight into the current market and market trends
  • Achievement of valuable customer proximity
  • Financial- and time- savings because the solutions are already available and tested on the market


Lead Users research projects need between 20 and 40 days of support by I.C.I.C.

About the method:

Lead Users Research works with clearly defined building blocks which can be classified in four phases:

Leas Users Research in practice:

Many people know the history of the mountain bike: In 70's a group of bike-enthusiasts started to re-build their street bikes to make them suitable for off-road riding. They arranged races in the Rocky Mountains and attracted other people for this new sport. Additionally, they were asked to build further bikes for the newcomers, which they started to build in their garages. That is how pioneers like Joe Breeze, Gary Fisher and Tom Ritchey had set the roots for the mountain bike industry.
Further examples are industrial companies like Hilti and 3M which build on / support their entire innovation culture with the Lead Users Research process.

E. von Hippel: Lead Users: A Source of Novel Product Concepts, Management Science 32, no. 7 (July):791-805.