A method for recruitment of lead users from virtual communities to innovate IT enabled services for consumers in global markets
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Contemporary information technologies enable firms to re-think and innovate with their service offerings. The difficult challenge with new service development (NSD) is how to engage the potential new service users in firm’s NSD activities. The lead user method has been a promising approach to tackle this problem. However, the finding and recruiting of the lead users has been found very arduous for the firms. The paper designs and tests a method for identifying and contacting the lead users, and employs laddering interviewing for subsequent data collection. The data consists of 55 laddering interviews conducted in Finland and Hong Kong. Our findings demonstrate that the proposed method can be considered effective. The results of the study show that with the proposed method we can facilitate design activities between new service developers and potential new service users. Our study also reveals interesting differences in the data sets regarding how interviewees provide reasoning for their potential service use. This finding provides basis for future research in understanding how culture affects new service development.
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