An Internet-Scale Idea Generation System

ACM Transactions on Interactive Intelligent Systems, 3(1), Article 2, 2013

26 Pages Posted: 28 Oct 2012 Last revised: 23 Feb 2013

See all articles by Lixiu Yu

Lixiu Yu

Carnegie Mellon University

Jeffrey V. Nickerson

Stevens Institute of Technology - School of Business

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

A method of organizing the crowd to generate ideas is described; it integrates crowds using evolutionary algorithms; the method increases the creativity of ideas across generations, and works better than greenfield idea generation. Specifically, a design space of internet-scale idea generation systems is defined, and one instance is tested – a crowd idea generation system that uses combination to improve previous designs. The key process of the system is the following: 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 the designs produced by a greenfield idea generation system. The results show that the sequential combination system produced more creative ideas in the last generation, and outperformed the greenfield idea generation system. The design space of crowdsourced idea generation developed here may be used to instantiate systems that can be applied to a wide range of design problems. The work has both pragmatic and theoretical implications: new forms of coordination are now possible, and, using the crowd, it is possible to test existing and emerging theories of coordination and participatory design. Moreover, it may be possible for human designers, organized as a crowd, to co-design with each other and with automated algorithms.

Keywords: crowdsourcing, creativity, evolutionary algorithms, co-design, collective intelligence

JEL Classification: O31

Suggested Citation

Yu, Lixiu and Nickerson, Jeffrey V., An Internet-Scale Idea Generation System (2011). ACM Transactions on Interactive Intelligent Systems, 3(1), Article 2, 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2166377

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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