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Research Papers: Design Theory and Methodology

Using Do-It-Yourself Practitioners as Lead Users: A Case Study on the Hair Care Industry

[+] Author and Article Information
Jaesik Hahn

School of Mechanical Engineering,
Purdue University,
West Lafayette, IN 47907
e-mail: hahnj@purdue.edu

Amy Marconnet

Assistant Professor
School of Mechanical Engineering,
Purdue University,
West Lafayette, IN 47907
e-mail: amarconn@purdue.edu

Tahira Reid

Assistant Professor
School of Mechanical Engineering,
Purdue University,
West Lafayette, IN 47907
e-mail: tahira@purdue.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Design Theory and Methodology Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received January 18, 2016; final manuscript received June 6, 2016; published online August 30, 2016. Assoc. Editor: Julie Linsey.

J. Mech. Des 138(10), 101107 (Aug 30, 2016) (8 pages) Paper No: MD-16-1052; doi: 10.1115/1.4034086 History: Received January 18, 2016; Revised June 06, 2016

Lead users play an integral part in helping engineers to identify latent needs of customers, and this approach has been used in a variety of ways within the design community. However, despite their close resemblance to lead users, do-it-yourself (DIY) practitioners have not been directly examined by the design community. A seven-step framework is presented where the first four steps resemble a typical design process and the remaining steps are relevant for the approach of identifying DIY practitioners as lead users. A case study from the hair care industry is presented to illustrate this framework. This paper establishes a connection between these two groups of customers and demonstrates how the insights of DIY practitioners, which manifest as latent needs for knowledge, can inspire research for the development of new technologies.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Method used to identify latent needs for knowledge among DIY practitioners

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Fig. 2

Solutions/alternatives adopted by customers to mitigate/avoid heat damage when straightening hair

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Fig. 4

An automated flat ironing system that simulates flat ironing by clamping down on the hair and automatically translating along the length of the hair fibers

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Fig. 3

Two-dimensional thermal maps of hair samples to which heat was applied by a flat iron from the left edge. (a) Thermal maps of single strands of Type V hair. (b) Thermal maps of single strands of Type I and II hair. (c) Temperature profiles of hair strands indicated by red arrows in (a) and (b). (d) Thermal maps of differently packed bundles of Type V hair. In all thermal maps, red indicates high temperature, and blue indicates low temperature - room temperature in this case.

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