Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Industrial Engineering

Committee Chair

Evans, Gerald W.

Author's Keywords

Customer orientation; Innovation; Lead user


New products--Management; Consumer satisfaction; Marketing--Management


A constant flow of innovative products which meets the needs of customers and therefore is a monetary success for the inventing organization is important for the long term success of organizations, especially in modem dynamic markets. As resources for innovation projects in organizations are generally limited it is important to choose the right ideas which are followed and later brought to the market. Therefore it is important to integrate external people at the beginning of the innovation process. The following methods all meet this requirement: Models for Positioning compare different attributes of existing or potential products or applications, the Empathic Design Method observes customers using existing products to gain information about future products and the Lead User Approach generates mainly radical innovations by bringing together test persons with very different backgrounds. The developed recommendation matrix based on innovation motives of an organization (e.g. degree of novelty, time frames, change of markets, etc.) and provides recommendations for the selection of a method. As a result, this matrix in combination with other developed factors of differentiation (e.g. complexity of method, availability of resources, etc.) provides a decision guideline for an organization.