Mountaineering – A Combinatory Approach for Identifying Lead Users and Other Rare Research Subjects

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Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
School of Science | D4 Julkaistu kehittämis- tai tutkimusraportti tai -selvitys
Date
2013
Major/Subject
Mcode
Degree programme
Language
en
Pages
38
Series
Aalto University publication series SCIENCE + TECHNOLOGY, 7/2013
Abstract
User innovation is common in many domains, and has been found concentrated in few individuals, lead users. Particularly with regard to a given product or service development project, such rare research subjects can be difficult and resource intensive to identify. Several alternative methods are common in the lead-user identification process, but according to dominant practitioner experience, the searches tend not to follow just one of them, but rather are inclined to involve the integration of several methods. This integration of alternative search methods has not, however, been discussed properly to date. The present state of affairs can make the lead-user identification process appear either as simple recipe following or as a mysterious process. We argue for a realistic middle ground between these extreme depictions, and propose an integrative search strategy labeled “mountaineering” towards users with the sought-after characteristics, lead userness in case of lead users. Through four principal and two supportive cases of mountaineering search, we elaborate some of the alternatives and choices in moving from one search method to another as responses to contingencies in particular searches. This elaboration of actual search experiences complements established depictions of ideal search processes and analytical comparisons between particular search methods.
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Keywords
sequential search, rare subjects, lead-user identification, mountaineering
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