Idea Competitions Under Scrutiny: Acquisition, Intelligence or Public Relations Mechanism?
Mortara, L., Ford, S.J., Jaeger, M., 2013. Idea Competitions under scrutiny: Acquisition, intelligence or public relations mechanism? Technological Forecasting and Social Change 80, 1563-1578.
44 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2011 Last revised: 29 Mar 2014
Date Written: March 3, 2013
Idea Competitions (ICs) are becoming a popular mechanism chosen by firms to perform Open Innovation. They are a way to engage with external sources of knowledge such as individual entrepreneurs and small firms who are asked to submit ideas and compete for a prize. However, little is known about the success of ICs as acquisition mechanisms. The researchers conducted interviews in five multinational companies to evaluate the effects of using ICs as an acquisition mechanism.
Although still preliminary, the results of this study show that the success of ICs as an acquisition mechanism remains uncertain because their output (i.e. the number of ideas acquired) is often low compared to the input (i.e. the number of ideas submitted) and effort required to run them (e.g. to vet ideas). Across the cases observed, ICs appear to be more successful at identifying and acquiring earlystage ideas, particularly those outside the current business focus. The study shows that ICs deliver other functionary benefits such as improved intelligence and public relations and that these need to be considered as part of the evaluation of the IC’s success. The paper concludes by discussing the conditions in which ICs are implemented and the implications for open innovation theory.
Keywords: Idea competitions, innovation tournaments, innovation contests, crowdsourcing, open innovation, acquisition mechanism, intelligence, user innovation, public relations
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