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Innovator | Habefast

Innovator Glossary Habefast

What is an innovator?

This concept was defined in the 1980s by Eric Von Hippel, a professor at MIT. According to him, innovators are consumers who are the first to express a need without a solution, or who are the first to adopt a product or service.

They are therefore the people likely to adopt an innovation as soon as it arrives on the market and represent a small proportion of the population, from 2 to 5%. The concept of lead user can be extended to companies. The idea remains the same, it is the anticipation of needs before they are formulated by the general public.

The interest of a lead user

For companies, this small proportion of the population is a real opportunity. They will allow a product or a service to be known…

By being at the forefront, they are likely to start a trend. Thanks to their interest in innovations and their taste for sharing, these personalities are likely to become opinion leaders. They can then help influence a part of the population and incite other consumers to buy the product. They can also influence the research and development of a company by expressing a demand that has not yet been met.

Characteristics of an innovator

An innovator is the vanguard of a trend and expresses before other consumers a need they will feel later.

A taste for major trends. An innovator is often ahead of the others, but above all, he detects major trends that can radically influence an environment or a way of consuming.

To be an innovator, you must also have expertise in the field of innovation. To express the need before the general public, the innovator must be confronted with a particular reality allowing them to formulate a precise need. He is also likely to test and research an answer to their need.

Example of a lead user:

To illustrate this concept, a parallel can be drawn with a war doctor. He could become an innovator for companies providing medical equipment. Faced with a particular reality, this doctor may need an emergency medical procedure that requires adapted tools.

Lead users are usually found in communities of enthusiasts or experts in a particular field.