I was reading “The Cathedral & the Bazaar by Eric Raymond” and there I came across a term “Delphi method”. In simple terms, it is a communication method involving experts and one facilitator to solve a problem by doing several rounds of giving opinions and reviewing the solutions until they reach towards a consensus. It is mostly used in making policy making decisions, marketing and forecasting. However, from my point of view, this method is used everywhere and by almost everyone. The only difference is in the roles of experts and facilitator in each scenario. Let me give some examples to clear my point.
A housewife goes to shop for grocery. She sees different brands of teas. She is used to drink one brand A. But there are B and C brands as well which seem very tempting. Now comes the Delphi method. She is the facilitator or controller and experts are his friends who have used brands B and C and the internet which has given information about benefits of the other brands. So by viewing the opinions of experts (friends, internet), she (agent) has come up to the conclusion to buy brand B instead. More examples can be seen easily if we look at different situations from the perspective of Delphi method.
Now comes the main point of this whole discussion. Can we apply Delphi method in User innovation? As far as my understanding is concerned, I think we surely can.
Delphi method applies in all phases of User innovation. Initial phase of user innovation is always personal itch. While facing some personal problem and trying to find a solution, Delphi method helps the user in reaching towards the final decision of doing innovation or not. Next phase is the developing of innovative product. Here Delphi method can be used to decide which resources will be used in the development process. User can involve his friends or other experts while making the decision or he can do it on its own as well. As the innovation process progresses, more users will be added and they also become the part of this Delphi method in the improvement of the innovated product.
Long story short, I think Delphi method is everywhere and can be used effectively while making important decisions in innovation process.