A lead user is a customer who has needs in a particular area before the rest of the market. Engaging lead users to understand their needs is a common method of innovation. The idea is that lead users hold the requirements that will define the future of a product, service or technique. By being the first to deliver to these requirements, a firm takes a leadership position in a market. The following are illustrative examples.
BicyclesA cyclist planing a trip from London to Tokyo by bike is a lead user for a light and reliable bicycle.
RoboticsAn interstellar space mission that will span decades is a lead user for highly reliable robots.
Information SecurityA social media site that is regularly attacked by sophisticated entities such as governments is a lead user for information security.
Wood ProductsA skateboarder is a lead user for strong and flexible wood products.
EnvironmentA city with extreme air quality problems is a lead user for zero emissions energy production and transport.
Market DataA firm that specializes in high frequency trading is a lead user for fast and reliable market data.
MedicineA doctor working in a war zone is a lead user for a simplified emergency medical procedure.
CosmeticsA makeup artist working in the fashion industry is a lead user for cosmetics such as makeup remover.
ArchitectureThe tallest building in an earthquake-prone city is a lead user for seismic vibration control systems.
SafetyA motorsports team is a lead user for safety equipment such as helmets.
EnergyAn electric car company is a lead user for efficient batteries.
Machine AutomationA recycling facility that needs to sort random garbage into 20 bins by material at high speed is a lead user for machine automation.A self driving car project is a lead user for machine learning algorithms.
FoodA three star restaurant is a lead user for artisanal food such as unique chili peppers.
Information TechnologyA bank with customer data duplicated and inconsistent in 20 different systems is a lead user for master data management.
High AvailabilityAn ecommerce company that processes 10,000 orders an hour is a lead user for high availability techniques such as cloud computing.
MaterialsA firm that designs and manufacturers prosthetic limbs is a lead user for materials with special properties including factors such as strength, weight and energy absorption.
This is the complete list of articles we have written about innovation.
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A list of common innovation principles.
An overview of fail often innovation.
How to measure innovation including early stage, late stage and overall program metrics.
The basic types of pilot used in business, science and entertainment.
A definition of moment of truth with a few examples.
A definition of user innovation with examples.
The common types of proof of concept.
The common types of commercialisation.
The common types of innovation objectives with examples.
A systematic investigation of market conditions including customers and the competition.
An overview of competitive intelligence.
The difference between market analysis vs market research.
An overview of total addressable market with an example.
The difference between market penetration and market share.
A list of common types of target market.
A definition of competitor analysis with examples.
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