Lead User Research

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LEAD USER PROJECT HANDBOOK:
A practical guide for lead user project teams

INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

CONSUMER PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

PROFESSIONAL PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Joan Churchill • Eric von Hippel • Mary Sonnack

PREFACE

When Joan Churchill, Mary Sonnack and I were doing lead user projects for our research in the 1990’s, we needed some standardized training materials for lead user project teams. We therefore wrote this handbook, and progressively revised it based upon field experience. Our final revisions were made in 1998. Then, our manuscript just sat there, as we all went on to other work. It is now 2009, and researchers and practitioners have learned a great deal more than we knew in 1998 about lead users, and how to run lead user projects. In a year or two, we expect that completely new handbooks will supersede this one. In particular, we are eagerly looking forward to one now being planned by Professors Christoph Hienerth and Marion Poetz of Copenhagen Business School. Still, while we are waiting for newer materials, we think that lead user teams, consultants, and teachers may well find something of value in what we wrote 10 years ago. Accordingly we are posting this book on the Web under a Creative Commons license that permits free downloading. It can be used in conjunction with 6 short lead user project training videos developed by Joan Churchill. These are also available on the Web for free downloading from http://mit.edu/evhippel/www/index.html The Creative Commons license we have chosen allows “derivative works.” This means that anyone is welcome to take sections of our work, with attribution, and incorporate them into their own works or training materials. Please see the license itself for more information on what it is OK to do. We are sure that others will greatly improve what we have done, and we very much look forward to…...

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