Our approach:

The Lead User method

Users innovate when they cannot find suitable products in the market that satisfy their needs. Those user innovations are frequently developed by so called Lead Users. Lead Users face new needs of the market significantly earlier than the majority of the customers in a market segment (capability). They profit strongly from innovations that provide a solution to those needs (motivation). As a consequence, Lead Users already develop product ideas or even first prototypes when commercial products do not yet exist.


A valuable source of innovation

In this project, persons who are Lead Users with respect to drought resilience shall be identified in Ethiopia and Kenya. Those Lead Users might have developed a physical product, a (digital) service or a concept that improves their resilience towards droughts.


The Lead User method was invented by Prof. Eric von Hippel from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and further co-developed by Prof. Cornelius Herstatt from Hamburg University of Technology.

Further reading: