Okay, up until this point, we focused on how to identify a need or how to identify an opportunity. Some of you may already have your product ideas in mind and may have more formalized needs that you've identified in terms of solving your customer problem. But for those of you who have not, this is one technique that has been used, especially for highly technical-type products. So if you're building software, or if you're building some type of mechanical device, this module will help you to better identify those customer needs by what we call lead users. Lead users are those individuals that experience a need well ahead of the market that you may be targeting your product to. So when we talk about lead users, they are leading with respect to the application as it relates to the market or it relates to the technical side of the product that you're developing. So by identifying those lead users, we'll be in the position to better understand the experience needs of head of the others who eventually adopt the product. So, examples of lead users would be, say, for example, in software development, it could be programmers, because they began to tinker around with the program once it's introduced into the market to identify more efficient and better ways to develop that particular software. Or you can think in terms of a chef who takes a basic recipe and reformulate that recipe based upon the fusion of different types of cooking techniques or different types of cuisines, such as combining Asian cooking with Mexican cooking. So, you're looking for those people who are going to use the product in a different way, or at least experience the need in a different way. Lead users are typically well ahead of the process before you introduce the commercial side of the product. The lead users may be experiencing the need in a different context other than the context of what you might be planning to use that product. So, the number of users perceiving the need as lead users will be different than the market in which you're targeting the product to. So, lead users typically face needs in terms of emerging needs, or needs that are hidden, that the average consumer would not recognize. Instant messaging is an example of user innovation where the actual technique for messaging started in a lab at MIT, and they developed an instant messaging system where students began to first use it for general messaging from each other and then other universities adopted the Zephyr technique. But it was nine years later when that actual product was introduced into the marketplace. And when it was introduced by Mirabilis and then acquired by AOL. So, this product development process, from the time that the idea developed until the time that it was introduced in the market, was fostered by a set of consumers identifying the weaknesses and strengths of those products. And through that particular lead user analysis, the commercial product was much better and much more efficient when it was finally introduced into the marketplace. Types of lead users would be some people that may exist in your target market, but often, they are lead users who are in similar markets. So if you're trying to adopt a particular type of technology, for example, when we talked about hybrid battery technology for the screwdriver, then you might look at people who are using hybrid batteries in, say, the automobile industry, and looking to see the technologies that they use to make the battery last longer. Lead users are involved in the more important attributes that may be keys to identifying the priority for your target market. So if we can identify the lead users, we're identifying latent needs and hidden needs that may not be uncovered when we look at a target market, because they can't foresee these uses at that particular time. As we've done with previous techniques, there's a process involved in analyzing the needs that you collect from lead users, and this process will lead to a common set of needs that you could then look into integrating into your product concept. And the first step is to identify the users who are working with similar interesting solutions. Remember, they may be outside the target market that you're looking for. Then the objective would be to identify and gain access to those users to help you develop the definition of the problem, and the needs that they have, so you can learn the solutions that they view and these solutions might be the way in which you can adopt it into your product that you're targeting a particular market segment. Once you have multiple solutions that's been developed by these lead users, you look to see what's coming across those particular lead users, and then translate those customer needs into a commercially viable product. So, why more than one user? Well, typically, problem solutions are born out of the context in which the problem exists. So, different lead users may experience the need differently, and may arrive at a different solution to it. So we want to know how they arrive at those solutions, not so much what. The lead user innovation can seldom see outside their own context or a sphere of experience, and often, they're myopic, as you may be in terms of the customer needs you've identified. And so, it's better to have multiple lead users from different contexts to understand the different alternatives or solutions that you may be able to use in developing a set of common needs and solutions to those needs. The strengths and weaknesses, as with any technique, it's a trade-off. One of the things that lead users does is force developers to go outside their typical sphere of experience, or their comfort zone. So that requires you to think differently; you're thinking outside the box, so to speak. It taps into the intellectual equity of other users, typically at very low cost, but it broadens and complicates the product view-of-the-world and your personal view. So rather than coming at us with a specific solution, you're now at the point of having multiple solutions that you'll have to evaluate to get to the identified solution that may be best for the set of customers that you're targeting your product to. Primarily used for product service areas where there's technology and the products may be more complex than users. One of the weaknesses is that it takes time to do it right. So this is not a quick-fix approach to gathering customer data. It's an iterative process where you will talk to multiple users in different contexts and then interpret that information to get to the common set of elements that may be useful in your product development. Success is based upon the first step, which is identifying the lead users. Once you've identified the lead users, it's fairly simple to get them to convey their experiences in the context in which they're facing a similar problem. So here's a short exercise and I want you to go along with me as how a possible lead user analysis would work. So the first step is to select a specific market and specific trend to think about in terms of who you want to target as your lead users. So, let's talk about outdoor solar cooking. Okay, early on we talked about a product in which you could develop a solar oven. In this case, it's an outdoor instrument that cooks products in a number of different ways. And we want to target a specific market in terms of that outdoor cooking, and so these would be people who barbecue. Barbecue typically may involve a number of activities, but the solar oven would approach cooking this in a different way. So, your first set of questions, knowing that this is your target market is, which types of individuals or firms will have needs that are at the leading edge of outdoor solar cooking? So if we're targeting the home barbecuer, what would be a similar target market that has faced these challenges much earlier? One example would be campers or outdoors-men, where they're away from a cooking facility, and typically, if they're away for a longer period of time, they need a way to cook their product over than just the wood fire burning campsites that they may have. So, the next question is, which of those outdoors sportsmen have a high incentive, but also the resources to solve their leading edge needs? So sportsmen who are on a long camping trip, a long hunting trip, a long fishing trip, they need a way of cooking their food when they may be away from the campsite enjoying fishing, hunting, or just hiking. How do you have products that are cooked when you're away from the campfire, where you don't have to continuously watch the product to see that it doesn't burn? Solar cooking would be one approach because it never overcooks the products that are in the oven. The next step would be to possibly lead users with three other target markets. So we could think of campers, we could think of outdoor sports people, we can think of picnickers, those who go on outings that require cooking of food, and in their particular case, they all face a similar need, but they may resolve those needs in different ways. And in this case, you're trying to learn about portability. How portable is the instrument and is it convenient and easy to use? So by targeting campers, outdoors sportsmen, we investigate how they solve the problem of portability. Do they just bring the equipment with them, which may be too heavy to lug up camping trails? Do they just cook over an open fire, reducing the portability? But at the same time, you lose the ability to monitor the cooking of the meat if you are away from the campsite. So portability is an important feature, but they are also trading it off in terms of how the product is cooked. So when you're looking at analyzing the lead users, there are two questions you're trying to ask based upon where you're beginning. One, are you beginning at the point that you have no idea what the customer needs are? And the basic idea is to understand the extremes of how a customer use a product and how they solve their problems when their current products do not solve them. Or are you looking at the end product, where you're trying to identify the solution of evaluating your particular idea that you have and you want the lead users to evaluate that idea? So the first step, if you have no idea about the product and the hidden needs, then you try to identify those needs using this technique. Alternatively, if you have a product already developed, then your approach is to evaluate the commercial potential of the product that you have in terms of the target markets that you've identified. So, lead user analysis is just one approach to identify needs for products that you're developing or evaluate.