The Challenge and Opportunities of Crowdsourcing Web Communities: An Italian Case Study

By Di Guardo, Maria Chiara; Castriotta, Manuel | International Journal of Electronic Commerce Studies, January 1, 2013 | Go to article overview

The Challenge and Opportunities of Crowdsourcing Web Communities: An Italian Case Study


Di Guardo, Maria Chiara, Castriotta, Manuel, International Journal of Electronic Commerce Studies


ABSTRACT

The present study explored the impact of a crowdsourcing strategy on the firm's inventive activities. To investigate this area, we drew on an exploratory qualitative case study using a Netnography approach to analyze the open innovation experience and crowdsourcing strategy of a large Italian company in the bakery sector, the Mulino Bianco. This paper has implications for future research on crowdsourcing, particularly regarding the effective use of collective intelligence in the innovation process.

Keywords: Open Innovation, Crowdsourcing, Netnography Study

1. INTRODUCTION

It is difficult to imagine a more significant topic in today's economy than interorganizational technology. Indeed, there is mounting evidence that points to the fact that a firm's innovation process increasingly involves partners beyond their boundaries, including research organizations, business partners, universities, and customers1. The potential benefits that are derived from external sourcing include access to complementary technological resources, faster development of innovations, and improved market access2. However, because, in recent years, the concept of "open innovation" has taken center stage in the innovation literature, thanks to recent technologies including many Web 2.0 applications, firms can now use effective tools to integrate customers into the early stages of the innovation process, improve the idea generation phase, and gain a closer proximity to customers3, 4, 5.

In this vein, crowdsourcing is currently one of the most discussed keywords within the open innovation community6. The term crowdsourcing describes a new Web-based business model that harnesses the creative solutions of a distributed network of individuals through what amounts to an open call for proposals7. In other words, a company posts a problem online and a vast number of individuals offer solutions to the problem. However the proliferation of such technologies necessitates a deep change on the organization of innovation activities in order to understanding what types of collective intelligence are possible (or not), desirable (or not) and affordable (or not) and under what conditions. As such, the use of collective intelligence to improve the firm innovation process may be simple in concept; however, can be extremely difficult to implement. Indeed, designing the right mechanisms for collective innovation is neither simple nor straightforward and the "rules of engagement" of external knowledge can make an enormous difference in the outcome.

Another basic question regarding mechanism design is people participation and engagement should not to be taken lightly. Indeed, for a large fraction of Web 2.0 projects that have flopped, the primary cause of failure appears to be a lack of engagement. Specifically, participants expect to be treated in a certain way and, more often than not, they want organizers to be engaged as well.

Generally speaking, the performance of many open innovation processes that are based on Web 2.0 applications has been less than optimal for a number of reasons8. For one thing, many tools do not provide information on participants, which raises concerns about the accuracy of the output and the possibility that the process might be vulnerable to manipulation. In addition, applications often lack any explicit refereeing process that might provide some degree of quality assurance.

Therefore, these researchers took on this challenge and explored the impact of a crowdsourcing strategy on firms' inventive activities. To investigate this area, we drew on an exploratory qualitative case study using a Netnography approach (a method specifically designed to study cultures and communities online9, 10) to analyze the open innovation experience and crowdsourcing strategy of a large Italian company in the bakery sector, the Mulino Bianco, which is part of the Barilla spa group.

The paper is organized as follows. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Challenge and Opportunities of Crowdsourcing Web Communities: An Italian Case Study
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.