Tuure Tuunanen, University of Auckland
Johanna Bragge, Helsinki School of Economics
Wendy Hui, Stevens Institute of Technology
Ville Virtanen, Helsinki School of Economics

Contemporary information systems and services must fulfill the needs of a variety of consumers instead of traditional organizational users. New ways to incorporate these consumers as users in development are required. The lead user method used in new product and service development is a promising approach to tackle this problem. However, the finding and recruiting of the lead users has been found very burdensome for the firms. We propose the use of virtual communities for the task. We tested empirically this new way of identifying and contacting the lead users for requirements discovery for an innovative mobile service. The proposed method was compared to a traditional way of recruiting lead users, namely snowballing. Our findings show that the proposed method can be considered to be at least as good method for lead user recruitment as snowballing in terms of perceived quality of the requirements discovered.