Value-Added Crowdsourcing: Digital Catalysts for Creative Contests

Value-Added Crowdsourcing: Digital Catalysts for Creative Contests

Nadia Steils (University of Lille, France) and Salwa Hanine (Université Côte d'Azur, France)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5993-1.ch008

Abstract

This chapter investigates the role of digital tools in the value co-creation process of creative contests. Based on a multidisciplinary literature and a discourse analysis of existing creative and innovation contests, the authors identify four categories of tools that affect the value co-creation process: proactive and reactive, trial-and-error, and social learning tools. A synthesizing framework presents how the integration of these tools is beneficial to the exchange of resources between the different stakeholders of creative crowdsourcing. The authors further identify practical tools (i.e., instructive and promoting, creativity supporting, collaborative, and evaluating tools), which intervene in the three phases of crowdsourcing activities (i.e., before, during, and after).
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Introduction

Crowdsourcing is a problem-solving model that takes advantage of the Internet (Brabham, 2013). Jeff Howe, who first coined the concept in 2006, describes it as the act of taking a job, traditionally performed by a designated agent (usually an employee), and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people in the form of an open call (Howe, 2006). Crowdsourcing is typically characterized by a proactive crowd, an outsourced task and an empowering online environment (Djelassi & Decoopman, 2013). Among the most popular and most promising types of crowdsourcing is creative crowdsourincg, often organized in the form of creative contests (e.g., idea or design competitions) (Terwiesch & Xu, 2008). Contests are used for both, problem-solving and decision-making tasks, in a variety of industries. They help reducing market failure rates of new products and services, accelerating the innovation process, reducing traditional outsourcing costs, and strengthening the relationship between brands and customers (Brabham, 2013; Hanine & Steils, 2018). Even though the principle of outsourcing a task to a group of people is not fundamentally new, the digital environment lifts the usage and usefulness of crowdsourcing to a whole new level.

The rise of crowdsourcing has been nurtured by technological and digital improvements, but also by consumers’ increasing empowerment (Loi, Rosati & Manca, 2008; Wathieu et al., 2002). People have long been willing to participate in companies’ creative and innovative challenges (Thomke & Von Hippel, 2002). With the advent of technological opportunities, Internet users are now not only willing (Roth, Brabham & Lemoine, 2015), but also capable of participating in corporate problem resolution (Frey, Lühtje & Haag, 2011; Jeppesen & Lakhani, 2010; Poetz & Schreier, 2012).

Technological advancements enable the emergence of a value ecosystem in which organisms (i.e., individuals, companies or networks) interact (Thrift, 2006). Crowdsourcing refers to a form of value co-creation, which is defined as a joint process in which value is created reciprocally for each of the actors (Füller, 2010). These actors are engaged in a value-creating process by interacting and exchanging resources of different nature (Leclerq et al., 2016; Schaffers et al., 2011).

This chapter describes how the Internet acts as a catalyst for value co-creation in creative crowdsourcing. First, the authors identify the digital components that lead to the rise of crowdsourcing in the scientific literature. Second, based on this literature and a discourse analysis of existing creative and innovation contests, the authors identify the technological stakes that affect the value co-creation process in crowdsourcing activities. Finally, overlaps between the exchange of resources and technological tools are described and illustrated in a synthesizing framework.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Creative Crowdsourcing: Collaborative approach in which companies benefit from the intelligence and creativity of a crowd of participants online.

Digital Tools: Tools characterized by electronic and especially computerized technologies.

Crowdsourcing: Crowdsourcing is the act of taking a job traditionally performed by a designated agent (usually an employee) and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people in the form of an open call.

Reactive Tools: Reactive tools encompass tools that help companies to react to participants’ actions (e.g., commenting or evaluating). They include all dialogue-enabling technologies.

Proactive Tools: Technologies that can be prepared and made available in advance to ensure the smooth running of the crowdsourcing campaign.

Trial-and-Error Learning: Method of problem solving learning which is characterized by repeated, varied attempts which are continued until success or until the agent stops trying.

Social Learning: Theory according to which acquisition of social competence happens exclusively or primarily as a function of observing, retaining and replicating behavior observed in one’s environment of other people.

Value Co-Creation: Joint process in which value is created reciprocally for each of the actors. These actors are engaged in a value-creating process by interacting and exchanging resources of different nature.

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