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IDENTIFYING LEAD USERS IN A B2B ENVIRONMENT BASED ON PATENT ANALYSIS — THE CASE OF THE CRANE INDUSTRY

Martin G Moehrle, Irina Pfennig and Jan M Gerken
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Martin G Moehrle: Institute of Project Management and Innovation, University of Bremen, Wilhelm-Herbst-Str. 12, D-28359 Bremen, Germany
Irina Pfennig: Institute of Project Management and Innovation, University of Bremen, Wilhelm-Herbst-Str. 12, D-28359 Bremen, Germany
Jan M Gerken: Institute of Project Management and Innovation, University of Bremen, Wilhelm-Herbst-Str. 12, D-28359 Bremen, Germany

International Journal of Innovation Management (ijim), 2017, vol. 21, issue 06, 1-20

Abstract: Lead users play an important role for innovation; not only in the interfaces between companies and consumers, but also in the interfaces between different companies (B2B). As for companies in many industries, the propensity to protect inventions by patenting is high, we suggest a new method for identifying lead user patents and illustrate it by means of the case of the crane industry. According to this method, we use the conceptual framework of the technology complex, conduct a first patent search with a high recall to generate a base set of patents, clean it, operationalise the technology complex in a way to separate the base set of patents into smaller sets, and inspect the remaining patent set to identify lead user patents. Doing so, we manage to find lead users from different industries, which clearly indicates that patent analysis is highly valuable for their identification in a B2B environment.

Keywords: Lead user; business-to-business innovation (B2B); patent analysis; patent search; technology complex; plant engineering industry (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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