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The effects of task instructions in crowdsourcing innovative ideas

Thomas Gillier, Cédric Chaffois, Mustapha Belkhouja, Yannig Roth and Barry L. Bayus

Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 2018, vol. 134, issue C, 35-44

Abstract: The existing literature offers conflicting advice regarding the types of task instructions that increase the quality of ideas during idea generation. Our research examines three types of task instructions: unbounded (participants are asked to generate any ideas they want), suggestive (participants are asked to propose ideas that improve current product benefits), and prohibitive (participants are asked to propose ideas that do not involve current product benefits). We explore the effectiveness of these three types of task instructions in a field study involving 6406 ideas from eYeka, a global crowdsourcing platform. As compared to unbounded task instructions, we find that suggestive task instructions are significantly related to lower idea originality, feasibility, and value. In addition, we find that idea originality and value are statistically equivalent for unbounded and prohibitive task instructions. Together, our results suggest that either unbounded or prohibitive task instructions should be used when crowdsourcing innovative ideas.

Keywords: Problem formulation; Idea generation; Crowdsourcing; Creativity; Fixation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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