[Air-L] Invitation to Participate in AOM 2009 Symposium "Crowdsourcing Innovation" (Call for Papers)

Sarah M. G. Otner Sarah.Otner at post.harvard.edu
Tue Dec 16 07:00:27 PST 2008

Dear Colleagues,

Motivated by Chesbrough's call for a more open approach to innovation,
scholars increasingly have investigated how organizations look outside their
boundaries in order either to gain insight for their innovations. However,
thus far solutions have been contained to the "usual suspects" for
collaboration – through joint ventures, alliances, and licensing
arrangements. Primarily, these avenues of collaboration have ignored the
core of what it means to be "open":  not knowing who will provide the input
for the next radical innovation.

The advent of Information & Communication Technology (ICT) has led to a
break with the 'same-place, same-time' restrictions on groups; whereas
organizations traditionally have relied heavily on small, co-located teams
in order to generate innovations, currently, we see large groups of
individuals beginning to collaborate on the Internet with the explicit goal
of leveraging their potential for innovation-related tasks.  These groups
either join or develop a community and exploit their crowd wisdom in order
to solve R&D challenges – a phenomenon known as "crowdsourcing".  In some
crowdsourcing communities, individuals' contributions are neither marginal
nor restricted to the project, but actually have inherent value.  Therefore,
a primary research interest is how organizations can strengthen their
innovative capabilities through realizing the full potential of large online

We believe that this research area should benefit from the phenomenon it
studies.  To this end, we would like to apply crowd wisdom to this area of
research!*  We invite scholars and practitioner colleagues to participate in
our symposium "Crowdsourcing Innovation" at the AOM 2009 Annual Meeting in
Chicago*.  We welcome papers on related topics, which may or may not address
the following research questions:

(a)  How motivations to contribute to an innovative task are influenced by
(i) the design choices of an online community, such as level of interaction
between individuals and sense of community created, (ii) reputation and
reward systems, and (iii) the assignment of property rights.

(b)  Which group processes are active in large groups above and beyond those
that are active in small groups? Which characteristics influence the
performance of large online groups above and beyond those that are of
influence in small groups?

(c)  What motivates individuals to sacrifice their potential intellectual
property and reputation amplification for the chance of financial rewards?
Furthermore, what mechanisms of accountability operate to ensure solution
quality and also fair use?

(d)  What are the processes within innovation communities that drive their
performance and success?

(e)  What are individuals' motivations for joining, for contributing to, and
for remaining active in these communities?

(f)  What can these communities do?  What *can't* they do (i.e., what are
the limits to their potential?)?

(g)  What is the role of community among these solution groups?

(h)  Should open innovation be open to all potential contributors?  Or,
should organizations gate-keep innovation groups' membership?

(i)   How does the contextual situation and the project characteristics
(e.g. collaborative, competitive, or co-opetitive task design) influence the
performance of online innovative groups?   What are the benefits and
drawbacks of each task design for solution quality?

(j)   Collectives v. Groups v. Teams v. Communities: which is the best level
of formality? Or, which degree of structure is most applicable to which

(k)  What is the potential for crowdsourcing as a business model?  That is,
can this approach to innovation be employed otherwise to the organization's

We hope that you will join us for this event, and we look forward to
connecting with you this summer in Chicago!

Best regards,

Sarah M. G. Otner (London School of Economics)

Mark Boons (Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University)

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