University of Oulu

Laitio, A., Nätti, S., (2023). How Embedded Lead Users Contribute to Innovation Processes: ASystematic Literature Review and Conceptual Framework,Journal of Innovation Management, 11(2), 157-172.;DOI:

How embedded lead users can contribute to innovation process : a systematic literature review

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Author: Laitio, Anna1; Nätti, Satu2
Organizations: 1Oulu Business School, University of Oulu, Finlan
2University of Oulu Business School, Unit of Marketing, Management and International Business,University of Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: University of Porto, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-10-13


Embedded lead users (ELUs) are firm employees who are also users of the firm’s products, holding that role most often due to their active participation in their spare time in the user domain. ELUs are able to integrate knowledge of customer needs in the innovation process based on their social contacts, user experiences, and knowledge of the innovating network or organization, for example. Due to this ability ELUs can facilitate innovation processes. The aim of this systematic literature review is to examine how according to the existing literature ELUs can contribute to different stages of the company innovation process. Three research questions are answered. 1) What kind of resources can ELUs offer for the innovation process? 2) How and based on which resources do ELUs contribute to the different stages of the innovation process? 3) What kinds of roles do ELUs have and how does their dual role in the user domain and the company influence the innovation process? Findings of the study bring new managerial perspectives on how companies can utilize ELUs in their innovation practices. In addition, by forming a holistic picture of current ELU research, this paper offers a variety of theoretical contributions in the form of holistic description of ELUs role in the innovation process in its different stages.

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Series: Journal of innovation management
ISSN: 2183-0606
ISSN-L: 2183-0606
Volume: 11
Issue: 2
Pages: 157 - 172
DOI: 10.24840/2183-0606_011.002_0006
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 512 Business and management
Copyright information: © The Authors 2023.