Crowdsourcing for innovation: How related and unrelated perspectives interact to increase creative performance

Mark Boons*, Daan Stam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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In recent years, several organizations have opened up their innovation processes to individuals from outside of the organization by means of digital crowdsourcing. The literature on crowdsourcing has emphasized the importance of using digital technology to reach far beyond organizational boundaries and include individuals with (educational) backgrounds that are very different and unrelated to those within the organization in its innovation process. It has been argued that such individuals will contribute novel insights because they consider an organization's innovation challenge from different perspectives. Building on the literature on creativity and absorptive capacity, we instead argue that having a related perspective will positively affect an individual's idea performance, while unrelated perspectives only positively contribute to idea performance in combination with a related perspective. Analyses of 2178 ideas contributed by 948 crowd members to 68 crowdsourced idea challenges show that it is important to consider how (educational) backgrounds can provide individuals with multiple perspectives, which can be either related or unrelated, and study how the interplay of related and unrelated perspectives affects the value of ideas in organizational open innovation initiatives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1758-1770
Number of pages13
JournalResearch Policy
Issue number7
Early online date7 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019


  • Crowdsourcing
  • Digitization
  • Educational background
  • Idea generation
  • Open innovation
  • Perspective


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