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Fostering social innovation: identifying lead users for participatory design
Participatory design fosters the integration of users into the process of generating new products and services. Although a relatively well established technique known to result in useful and usable outcomes, one of its widely recognized limitations is that these outcomes generally lack innovativeness. A probable reason for this is that it integrates individuals possessing typical needs and desires as a platform for generating products and services. By contrast the lead user method known to result in innovative outcomes enables the integration of lead users who possess future needs as opposed to current and typical ones. Therefore, integrating them into participatory design could increase the innovativeness of outcomes. However, mechanisms to recruit lead users are relatively undeveloped, with them vitally including the identification of lead user trends and needs. Furthermore, this complex and incorporated identification process for these lead user trends and needs is largely unexplored, which emphasizes the requirements for studies that not only attempt to extend, but also demystify it for practitioners within alternate domains like participatory design. Consequently, this study, details the process used to identify lead user trends and needs, and provides guidelines of how to recruit lead users for participatory design using it. Finally, methods adopted within this study involved consulting secondary sources of data, and undertaking sixteen semi-structured interviews with market and technology experts