The first step in the innovation process is for the marketer to generate intuition about consumers' needs and market opportunities. This intuition comes from sharing experience with consumers. The variety and number of ways to share experience with consumers is innumerable. So, this first step is often the most difficult for an organization to perform reliably.
An important source of inspiration for intuition into consumers' needs is lead users. Lead users have a high level of knowledge about brands and products, and lead users understand their own needs very well. So, creative lead users are able to invent a solution to their needs on their own by customizing a product or re-combining a product with some other products.