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Generating Creative Ideas Through Crowds: An Experimental Study of Combination

Thirty Second International Conference on Information Systems, 2011

16 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2012  

Lixiu Lisa Yu

Carnegie Mellon University

Jeffrey V. Nickerson

Stevens Institute of Technology - School of Business

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

The crowd is emerging as a new source of innovation, and here a new way of organizing the crowd to produce new ideas is discussed: an idea generation system using combination in which participants synthesize new designs from the efforts of their peers. A crowd generates designs; then another crowd combines the designs of the previous crowd. In an experiment with 540 participants, the combined designs are compared to the initial designs, and to a control condition in which fresh idea generation rather than combination is used. The results show that designs become more creative in later generations of the combination system, and the combination produces more creative ideas than the fresh idea generation. The model of crowdsourced idea generation discussed here may be used to instantiate systems that can be applied to a wide range of design problems. The work has pragmatic implications, and also theoretical implications: new forms of coordination are now possible, and, using the crowd, it is possible to build and test existing and emerging theories of coordination and design.

Keywords: Crowdsourcing, design, combination, creativity, idea generation, innovation

Suggested Citation

Yu, Lixiu Lisa and Nickerson, Jeffrey V., Generating Creative Ideas Through Crowds: An Experimental Study of Combination (2011). Thirty Second International Conference on Information Systems, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2039547

Lixiu Yu (Contact Author)

Carnegie Mellon University ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

Jeffrey V. Nickerson

Stevens Institute of Technology - School of Business ( email )

Hoboken, NJ 07030
United States

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