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

See all articles by Letizia Mortara

Letizia Mortara

University of Cambridge - Institute for Manufacturing

Simon Ford

University of Cambridge - Centre for Technology Management

Manuel Jaeger

University of Cambridge - Institute for Manufacturing

Date Written: March 3, 2013

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Mortara, Letizia and Ford, Simon and Jaeger, Manuel, Idea Competitions Under Scrutiny: Acquisition, Intelligence or Public Relations Mechanism? (March 3, 2013). 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. , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1956668 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1956668

Letizia Mortara (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge - Institute for Manufacturing ( email )

17 Charles Babbage Road
Cambridge, CB3 0FS
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.ifm.eng.cam.ac.uk/people/lm367/

Simon Ford

University of Cambridge - Centre for Technology Management ( email )

Alan Reece Building
17 Charles Babbage Road
Cambridge, CB3 0FS
United Kingdom
+44(0)1223 766776 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ifm.eng.cam.ac.uk/people/sjf39/

Manuel Jaeger

University of Cambridge - Institute for Manufacturing ( email )

17 Charles Babbage Road
Cambridge, CB3 0FS
United Kingdom
+4915140008323 (Phone)

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