User Innovation, Lead Users and Crowdsourcing for the Design of New Products and Services: Why, What and How?

  • Jean-Marc RobertEmail author
  • Masood Maldar
  • Mitra Taraghi
  • Ahmed Seffah
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 824)


The goal of this study is to examine new paradigms, approaches, methods and tools that can help Prospective Ergonomics (PE) in its dual mission of defining current and future needs of users/customers and creating innovative products and services. After exposing the highlights of the PE that serve as a framing for our study, we present and analyze three powerful concepts that can guide PE: User innovation, Lead users, and Crowdsourcing. The theme of User Innovation comes from the research of von Hippel initiated in the 70’s, which is at the origin of a paradigm shift in the field of innovation. His research, confirmed by several other researchers, showed that “a large part of the innovations of products and services was the outcome of the users rather than the manufacturers”. Lead users are “users of a product or service that currently experience needs still unknown to the public, and who are positioned to benefit significantly by obtaining a solution to their needs”. Included are users at the leading edges of the target market of a product or service, and users in other markets that do similar activities or face similar problems in a more extreme form. Finally crowdsourcing, which existed long before the digital age, is “a type of participative online activity in which an individual or a firm proposes to a group of individuals, via a flexible open call, the voluntary undertaking of a task”. One main field of application is the production and selection of innovative ideas. Finally, we present four new social-media crowdsourcing tools: UXModeler, Crowdboard, CrowdUX and SortedCrowdUX, as well as two cases of successful use of crowdsourcing in banking and industry.


Prospective ergonomics User needs User innovation Crowdsourcing Open innovation Lead users New product development 


  1. 1.
    Robert J-M, Brangier E (2009) What is prospective ergonomics? A reflection and a position on the future of ergonomics. In: Karsh BT (ed) Ergonomics and health aspects of work with computers. Springer, Heidelberg, pp 162–169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Brangier É, Robert J-M (2014) L’ergonomie prospective: fondements et enjeux. Le travail humain 77:1. Scholar
  3. 3.
    Standard ISO, ISO B (2009) ISO 9241-210:2010 - Ergonomics of human-system interaction – Part 210: Human-centred design for interactive systems. ISOGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ulwick T (2013) Silence the voice of the customer. In: Innovation management. Accessed 27 May 2018
  5. 5.
    Prévost M-C, Spooner D (2014) Concevoir rapidement des produits et services innovateurs en utilisant une approche ergonomique proactive: le cas d’une entreprise d’aide posturale. Le travail humain 77:207. Scholar
  6. 6.
    Griffin A (2012) Obtaining customer needs for product development. In: Kahn KB (ed) The PDMA handbook of new product development, 3rd edn. Wiley, New York, pp 213–230Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Ulwick AW, Bettencourt LA (2008) Giving customers a fair hearing. MIT Sloan Manag Rev 49:62–68Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Harhoff D, Lakhani KR (2016) Revolutionizing innovation: users, communities, and open innovation. MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Lüthje C, Stockstrom C (2016) Cost advantages in innovation—a comparison of users and manufacturers. In: Revolutionizing innovation: users, communities, and open innovation, p 45Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Gault F (2016) User innovation and official statistics. In: Harhoff D, Lakhani KR (eds) Revolutionizing innovation: users, communities, and open innovation. MIT Press, Cambridge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Shah S, Tripsas M (2016) When do user innovators start firms? A theory of user entrepreneurship. In: Revolutionizing innovation: users, communities, and open innovation. MIT Press, pp 285–307Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Benkler Y (2016) When von Hippel innovation met the networked environment: recognizing decentralized innovation. In: Revolutionizing innovation: users, communities, and open innovation. MIT PressGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Von Hippel E (1986) Lead users: a source of novel product concepts. Manag Sci 32:791–805CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Lead User (2017) WikipediaGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Berthon PR, Pitt L, McCarthy IP, Kates SM (2007) When customers get clever: managerial approaches to dealing with creative consumers. Social Science Research Network, RochesterGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Lilien GL, Morrison PD, Searls K et al (2002) Performance assessment of the lead user idea-generation process for new product development. Manag Sci 48:1042–1059. Scholar
  17. 17.
    Lettl C, Perkmann Berger S, Roiser S (2016) Exploring why and to what extent lead users share knowledge with producer firms. In: Revolutionizing innovation: users, communities, and open innovation, p 45Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Crowdsourcing (2018) WikipediaGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Howe J (2006) Crowdsourcing: a definition. In: crowdsourcing. Accessed 31 May 2018
  20. 20.
    Brabham DC (2008) Crowdsourcing as a model for problem solving: an introduction and cases. Convergence 14:75–90. Scholar
  21. 21.
    Estellés-Arolas E, González-Ladrón-de-Guevara F (2012) Towards an integrated crowdsourcing definition. J Inf Sci 38:189–200. Scholar
  22. 22.
    Sun L, Xiang W, Chen S, Yang Z (2015) Collaborative sketching in crowdsourcing design: a new method for idea generation. Int J Technol Des Educ 25:409–427. Scholar
  23. 23.
    Dow S, Gerber E, Wong A (2013) A pilot study of using crowds in the classroom. In: Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on human factors in computing systems. ACM, New York, pp 227–236Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Luther K, Tolentino J-L, Wu W et al (2015) Structuring, aggregating, and evaluating crowdsourced design critique. In: Proceedings of the 18th ACM conference on computer supported cooperative work and social computing. ACM, New York, pp 473–485Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Xu A, Huang S-W, Bailey B (2014) Voyant: generating structured feedback on visual designs using a crowd of non-experts. In: Proceedings of the 17th ACM conference on computer supported cooperative work and social computing. ACM, New York, pp 1433–1444Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Park CH, Son K, Lee JH, Bae S-H (2013) Crowd vs. crowd: large-scale cooperative design through open team competition. In: Proceedings of the 2013 conference on computer supported cooperative work. ACM, New York, pp 1275–1284Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Hossain M, Kauranen I (2015) Crowdsourcing: a comprehensive literature review. Strat Outs 8:2–22. Scholar
  28. 28.
    Barcellini F, Détienne F, Burkhardt J-M (2008) User and developer mediation in an Open Source Software community: boundary spanning through cross participation in online discussions. Int J Hum Comput Stud 66:558–570. Scholar
  29. 29.
    Näkki P, Koskela-Huotari K (2012) User participation in software design via social media: experiences from a case study with consumers. AIS Trans Hum Comput Interact 4:129–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Preece J, Shneiderman B (2009) The reader-to-leader framework: motivating technology-mediated social participation. AIS Trans Hum Comput Interact 1:13–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Elliott A (2015) Death and social media implications for the young and will-less - proquest. Jurimetrics 55:381–405Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Alcántara JM, Markopoulos P, Funk M (2015) Social media as ad hoc design collaboration tools. In: T de G (ed) ACM international conference proceeding series. Association for Computing MachineryGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Greenwood P, Rashid A, Walkerdine J (2012) UDesignIt: towards social media for community-driven design. In: Proceedings of the 34th international conference on software engineering. IEEE Press, Piscataway, pp 1321–1324Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Herring SR, Poon CM, Balasi GA, Bailey BP (2011) TweetSpiration: leveraging social media for design inspiration. In: CHI 2011 extended abstracts on human factors in computing systems. ACM, New York, pp 2311–2316Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Qaed F, Briggs J, Cockton G (2016) Social media resources for participative design research. In: Proceedings of the 14th participatory design conference: short papers, interactive exhibitions, Workshops, vol 2. ACM, New York, pp 49–52Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Stuedahl D, Lowe S (2014) Re-considering Participation in social media designs. In: Proceedings of the 13th participatory design conference: short papers, industry cases, workshop descriptions, doctoral consortium papers, and keynote abstracts, vol 2. ACM, New York, pp 107–110Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Kraut RE, Resnick P, Kiesler S et al (2012) Building successful online communities: evidence-based social design. The MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Sanders EB-N, Brandt E, Binder T (2010) A framework for organizing the tools and techniques of participatory design. In: Proceedings of the 11th biennial participatory design conference. ACM, New York, pp 195–198Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Straus D, Layton TC (2002) How to make collaboration work: powerful ways to build consensus, solve problems, and make decisions. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Wolff D, Seffah A (2011) UX modeler: a persona-based tool for capturing and modeling user experience in service design. In: PUX 2011 program committee, pp 7–16Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Bjørn-Andersen N, Hedberg B (1977) Designing information systems in an organizational perspective. TIMS Stud Manag Sci 5:125–142Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Gopsill JA, McAlpine HC, Hicks BJ (2013) A social media framework to support engineering design communication. Adv Eng Inform 27:580–597. Scholar
  43. 43.
    Andolina S, Schneider H, Chan J et al (2017) Crowdboard: augmenting in-person idea generation with real-time crowds. In: Proceedings of the 2017 ACM SIGCHI conference on creativity and cognition. ACM, New York, pp 106–118Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Warr A, O’Neill E (2005) Understanding design as a social creative process. In: Proceedings of the 5th conference on creativity and cognition. ACM, New York, pp 118–127Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Wang H-C, Cosley D, Fussell SR (2010) Idea expander: supporting group brainstorming with conversationally triggered visual thinking stimuli. In: Proceedings of the 2010 ACM conference on computer supported cooperative work. ACM, New York, pp 103–106Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Siangliulue P, Chan J, Dow SP, Gajos KZ (2016) IdeaHound: improving large-scale collaborative ideation with crowd-powered real-time semantic modeling. In: Proceedings of the 29th annual symposium on user interface software and technology. ACM, New York, pp 609–624Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Buskirk EV (2010) Google struggles to give away $10 million. In: WIRED. Accessed 31 May 2018
  48. 48.
    Simonton DK (2018) Defining creativity: don’t we also need to define what is not creative? J Creat Behav 52:80–90. Scholar
  49. 49.
    Schneider H, Frison K, Wagner J, Butz A (2016) CrowdUX: a case for using widespread and lightweight tools in the quest for UX. In: Proceedings of the 2016 ACM conference on designing interactive systems. ACM, New York, pp 415–426Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Ogawa S, Nishikawa H (2016) Crowdsourcing at MUJI. In: Revolutionizing innovation: users, communities, and open innovationGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean-Marc Robert
    • 1
    Email author
  • Masood Maldar
    • 2
  • Mitra Taraghi
    • 1
  • Ahmed Seffah
    • 2
  1. 1.École Polytechnique de MontréalMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Lappeenranta University of TechnologyLappeenrantaFinland

Personalised recommendations