This article is part of THNK VIEWS. We bridge theory and practice on organizing imagination and innovation by extracting key implications and offering new insights to innovation practitioners from a rich database of research papers. This article builds on the research paper Lessons from Ideation: Where Does User Involvement Lead Us? by Fiona Schweitzer, Oliver Gassmann and Christiane Rau and discusses co-designers and lead users.
We are slowly transitioning from mass consumption to customized, tailor-made products. Consumption has boldly evolved into a participatory experience in which users are actively co-creating both the products and experiences. More than 50 percent of Fortune 500 companies now use user co-creation to develop and launch new products and services. Despite the widespread attention and rising popularity of consumer co-creation in new product development, there is still plenty of room for improvement. A study by Fiona Schweitzer, Oliver Gassmann, and Christiane Rau finds that while great progress has been made in user-inclusion, many companies still see users as one big homogeneous group, thereby failing to take note of the different types of valuable individual input. This causes them to overlook and undervalue insights by specific user groups.