Professor of Technology and Operations Management
Open Innovation; Innovation Contest; Innovation Incentives; Information Transmission; Feedback;
Journal Article | Management Science | | December 2018
Sourcing Innovation: On Feedback in Contests
Contests - in which solvers compete for a prize offered by the contest holder - have become a popular way to source innovation. Despite great interest from the academic community, many important managerial aspects of contests have received hardly any formal inquiry. The most important of these aspects is feedback from the contest holder to the solvers as the contest unfolds.This paper addresses three salient questions about how feedback can be used to improve contest outcomes. First, the authors identify when and when not to give feedback as well as which type of feedback to give: public (which all solvers can observe) or private (which only the focal solver can observe). The authors uncover a nontrivial relationship between contest characteristics and the respective benefits of private, public, and no feedback.Second, the authors tackle the issue of voluntary feedback: Should the contest holder mandate interim feedback or instead allow solvers to seek feedback at their own discretion? Third, the authors discuss how changing the granularity of feedback information affects its value to solvers.