Open Social Innovation: Why and How Seekers Use Crowdsourcing for Societal Benefits

Paper by Krithika Randhawa, Ralf Wilden Macquarie and Joel West: “Despite the increased research attention on crowdsourcing, we know little about why and how seeker organizations use this open innovation mechanism. Furthermore, previous studies have focused on profit-seeking firms, despite the use of open innovation practices by public sector organizations to achieve societal benefits. In this study, we investigate the organizational and project level choices of government (seekers) that crowdsource from citizens (solvers) to drive open social innovation, and thus develop new ways to address societal problems, a process referred to as “citizensourcing”.

Using a dataset of 18 local government seekers that use the same intermediary to conduct more than 2,000 crowdsourcing projects, we develop a model of seeker crowdsourcing implementation that links a previously-unstudied variance in seeker intent and engagement strategies, at the organizational level, to differences in project team motivation and capabilities, in turn leading to varying online engagement behaviors and ultimately project outcomes. Comparing and contrasting governmental with the more familiar corporate context, we further find that the non-pecuniary orientation of both seekers and solvers means that the motives of government crowdsourcing differ fundamentally from corporate crowdsourcing, but that the process more closely resembles a corporate-sponsored community rather than government-sponsored contests. More broadly, we offer insights on how seeker organizational factors and choices shape project-level implementation and success of crowdsourcing efforts, as well as suggest implications for open innovation activities of other smaller, geographicallybound organizations….(More)”.