A New Approach to Research

Clayton M. Christensen and Derek van Bever in Harvard Business Review: “In writing “The Capitalist’s Dilemma,” we asked students and alumni of our Harvard Business School course “Building and Sustaining a Successful Enterprise” to collaborate with us. Presented here is a map of that collaboration—how hundreds of contributors helped shape the seven core ideas in the article. The crowdsourcing of this article took place on the OI Engine platform (as used on OpenIDEO), which alumnus Tom Hulme helped develop, and was made possible through the leadership of the HBS Digital Initiative under the direction of Karim Lakhani and Matt Tucker. This effort represents the first attempt at creating a community of lifelong collaboration with HBS alumni.
The map illustrates how ideas build and flow, merge, and then diverge again over time. Diverse paths are taken to arrive at the final ideas in the article. It also shows how metrics we might presume are meaningful—comments on a post, for example—don’t always correlate with actual influence. We felt the approach we were taking to writing the article was different and disruptive. This visualization confirmed that for us, and helped us learn about crowdsourcing ideas, too.”