User innovation presents an opportunity to capitalize on the innovative potential of consumers. Lead users, who are ahead of the market and who innovate for their own benefit, possess valuable marketing and product development information, providing a sustainable source of new, creative ideas. However, despite the low costs and high profitability, most companies refrain from adapting user innovation methods. We believe that managerial reluctance on the subject can be overcome by combining the accumulation of experience from previous applications of user innovation methods in various fields, and expressing them in a pattern language. Patterns are tools that store tacit information such as experience or expert intuition. By separating irrelevant elements from the essential and focusing on repeating themes in a number of situations, they offer compact solutions to clearly defined problems in specific circumstances, including possible outcomes and recommendations on steps to follow. The user innovation patterns presented here provide a distillation of numerous case studies and examples from literature, in order to facilitate their interpretation into specific business conditions, and hopefully promote the expansion of their implementation into new industries. In the paper we first review the existing literature on user innovation and pattern language, then list the proposed patterns with frequent references to available case studies. Then we apply these patterns to two hypothetical firms in the service sector, where no previous applications of user innovation methods have been recorded. We conclude by examining the implications of widespread pattern use in managerial sciences.
|Keywords:||Knowledge Management, Pattern Language, User Innovation, Lead Users|
Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey
Department of Management, Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey
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