This paper examines the “reverse innovation” of the leveraged freedom chair (LFC), a high-performance, low-cost, off-road wheelchair originally designed for developing countries. A needs study of 71 developed world wheelchair users was conducted through three different data collection efforts. These data were contrasted with studies of 125 developing world wheelchair users, who were shown to be lead users for their developed world counterparts. The GRIT freedom chair (GFC), the developed world version of the LFC, was designed based on results of the study. By recognizing developing country users as lead users, designers can reveal latent needs and create globally disruptive innovations.
Developing World Users as Lead Users: A Case Study in Engineering Reverse Innovation
Contributed by the Design Automation Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received September 16, 2014; final manuscript received March 5, 2015; published online May 19, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Christopher Mattson.
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Judge, B. M., Hölttä-Otto, K., and Winter, A. G. (July 1, 2015). "Developing World Users as Lead Users: A Case Study in Engineering Reverse Innovation." ASME. J. Mech. Des. July 2015; 137(7): 071406. doi: https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4030057
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