Product innovation will continue to play a strategic role for companies producing high-quality, functional products for customers in the process industries. In the future, creating improved or radically new products will necessitate not only the development of product concepts resting more on an applied research knowledge base but also collaboration with customers. LKAB is a world-leading producer of processed iron ore products for steelmaking. The development of next-generation pellet products in collaboration with lead users presented an opportunity for a single case study in a B2B context. Two customers for present products as well as a technology/equipment supplier were identified as lead users. Using a framework grounded in lead user development, the Quality Function Deployment methodology (adapted to process-industrial use) was used as the facilitating instrument. It is concluded that this modified system will constitute an improved integrated knowledge-based platform for the development of new product and process concepts. It is argued that this development approach could also be applied in other process-industrial sectors serving industrial customers in an open innovation perspective.
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