Team Collaboration in Innovation Contests
41 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2020 Last revised: 13 Oct 2021
Date Written: May 22, 2020
In an innovation contest, an organizer elicits solutions to an innovation-related problem from a group of solvers. Although solvers are capable of developing solutions individually and making individual submissions, if the organizer encourages collaboration, solvers may collaborate as teams and make team submissions. Motivated from different policies adopted by crowdsourcing platforms (e.g., InnoCentive, Topcoder, and 99designs), we identify conditions under which the organizer can benefit from team submissions. By examining equilibrium outcomes of game-theoretic models, we show, interestingly, that when the organizer seeks high-novelty solutions to a nondecomposable problem (e.g., design challenges at InnoCentive), the organizer can benefit from team submissions despite the decrease in solvers’ efforts. Yet, when the organizer seeks low-novelty solutions to a nondecomposable problem (e.g., logo design challenges at 99designs), the organizer may not benefit from team submissions unless teams are highly diverse. We further show that when the organizer seeks low-novelty or high-novelty solutions to a decomposable problem (e.g., software challenges at Topcoder), the organizer can benefit from team submissions, but interestingly, only under certain conditions. Finally, we identify conditions under which solvers can benefit from collaborating as teams because the organizer’s benefit from team submissions hinges upon solvers’ decisions. We show that solvers can benefit from team collaboration in the absence of substantial synergistic gains, because without such gains, team collaboration decreases each solver’s effort and hence cost in equilibrium.
Keywords: Crowdsourcing, Platform, Team Submission, Tournament
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