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Lead User Innovation and the UK Outdoor Trade since 1850

Research output: Working paper

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Abstract

This article explores lead user innovation in the UK outdoor trade since 1850. The long term perspective allows an analysis of the changing role and impact of lead user sports people on clothing and equipment for mountaineering and other outdoor activities. Lead user innovation is where the users themselves, as those with the best understanding of their demands, innovate to produce what they need. They benefit from using rather than selling the product in the first instance. Along term perspective demonstrates significant changes in sporting needs, technology, manufacturing organization, business methods and communications. It highlights the importance of shared practice, learning by doing and learning by using in the innovation process where sometimes disruptive innovation occurs where communities of practice meet. This article traces the relationship between the development and impact of lead user innovation and the way these were shaped by sporting and business changes.