Study: Markets Influenced by Elite Consumers

december 3, 2003  09:23 am
That consumers shape markets is a truism, but their influence is probably understated and certainly not fully understood. Eric von Hippel, a professor at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, argues that a huge swath of innovation can be traced to elite consumers whom he calls lead users. These imaginative and technically adept consumers spot a need and invent a solution, often changing whole industries, from sports to software.