Crowdsourced Idea Generation: The Effect of Exposure to an Original Idea

13 Pages Posted: 7 May 2018

See all articles by Kai Wang

Kai Wang

Kean University

Jeffrey Nickerson

Stevens Institute of Technology

Yasuaki Sakamoto

DataRobot, Inc.

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Date Written: June 2018


Crowdsourcing is an increasingly important approach to pursuing innovation. In crowdsourcing ideation websites, crowd members are often exposed to some stimulus ideas, such as examples provided by companies or peers' ideas. Understanding the effect of being exposed to original stimulus ideas in this context may inform the design of the crowdsourcing process. To test this effect, an experiment was conducted where crowd workers were asked to design a public service advertisement. Depending on the experimental condition, the participants were exposed to an original idea, or a common idea, or no idea. As compared to the absence of exposure, exposure to an original idea decreased fluency, defined as the number of ideas generated by each person, and increased the average originality of ideas generated by each person. By contrast, exposure to a common idea had no effect on either idea originality or fluency. The semantic similarity between the stimulus idea and the first idea generated was higher when the stimulus was common versus original as measured by latent semantic analysis. The implications of these results for research and practice are discussed.

Suggested Citation

Wang, Kai and Nickerson, Jeffrey and Sakamoto, Yasuaki, Crowdsourced Idea Generation: The Effect of Exposure to an Original Idea (June 2018). Creativity and Innovation Management, Vol. 27, Issue 2, pp. 196-208, 2018. Available at SSRN: or

Kai Wang (Contact Author)

Kean University ( email )

1000 Morris Ave
Union, NJ 07083
United States

Jeffrey Nickerson

Stevens Institute of Technology

Hoboken, NJ 07030
United States

Yasuaki Sakamoto

DataRobot, Inc.

Boston, MA
United States

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