Journal : Creativity. Theories – Research - Applications., 9 juillet 2023
Lead users are invaluable resources to generate user centric radical innovation, but they remain difficult to detect and recruit in the general population. Lead userness, which draws both on the ability to identify unstated customer needs and find creative solutions to those needs, has been conceptualized as domain-dependent: this means that a lead user may generate innovation only in a specific domain for which s/he is an expert. In the present study, we aim to better understand the extent to which lead userness is a domain-dependent state (as elaborated in the literature) or a domain-independent trait. Following a questionnaire survey with 126 participants, we managed to reliably assess one side of lead userness, namely the ability to identify needs, and showed that it was related both to domain-dependent characteristics (competences) and domain-independent trait (emotional intelligence). These results open up new avenues for implementing the lead user method in innovation projects.