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Constructing customer understanding for innovation process: Case study of a life science company

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5 Author(s)
Kanto, L. ; Innovation Manage. Inst., Aalto Univ., Espoo, Finland ; Polvinen, K. ; Patana, A.-S. ; Pihlajamaa, J.
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This paper discusses how the customer understanding is created and spread among the organization in knowledge-intensive life science companies. The case company in the analysis is a diagnostic company and customers are hospital and private laboratories (business-to-business context) and also key opinion leaders. Research methods used in the study were qualitative face-to-face interviews and literature review. Interview questions were designed to elicit open-ended responses from participants. Ten participants were selected from different departments within one business unit, which had new discontinues products in the innovation pipe line. The data show that there was no common practice to collect, save and analyze the customer data for creating customer understanding and only few employees involved in the innovation process really knew the customers. And although open innovation has changed the role of customers also in life science industry, in this case study, the most of the customers were used as information source and only key opinion leaders as consultative partners. Promoting and preventing factors in both constructing customer understanding and utilizing customer understanding in innovation front-end were identified. Further study is needed especially about what kind of customer information is critical for the front end of the innovation process.

Published in:

Technology Management for Emerging Technologies (PICMET), 2012 Proceedings of PICMET '12:

Date of Conference:

July 29 2012-Aug. 2 2012