A Social Network Perspective of Lead Users and Creativity: An Empirical Study among Children

  • Kratzer J
  • Lettl C
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Generating ideas at the fuzzy front end of new product development is risky and has serious consequences for all preceding development stages. One of the currently most prominent techniques in supporting this idea-generation stage is the lead user approach. Involving lead users in idea generation closely correlates to individual creativity, and both, in turn, to the provision of information in social networks. This study, guided by lead user theory, creativity research and network theory, investigates 16 school-groups of children examining the relationship between the children's social networks and their resulting creativity and lead userness. In addition, the interplay between lead userness and creativity is discussed and empirically tested. The main result of this study is that children who are positioned as bridging links between different groups in social networks reveal both a high degree of lead userness and a high level of creativity.

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  • Jan Kratzer

  • Christopher Lettl

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