Toolkits for idea competitions: a novel method to integrate users in new product development



Research has shown that many innovations originate not in the manufacturer but the user domain. Internet-based toolkits for idea competitions (TIC) are a novel way for manufacturers to access innovative ideas and solutions from users. Idea competitions build on the nature of competition as a means to encourage users to participate at an open innovation process, to inspire their creativity, and to increase the quality of the submissions. When the contest ends, submissions are evaluated by an expert panel. Users whose submissions score highest receive an award from the manufacturer, which is often granted in exchange for the right to exploit the solution in its domain. Following the idea of evolutionary prototyping, we developed a TIC in cooperation with a manufacturer of sports goods. The TIC was launched as a pilot in one of the company's markets. Submissions were evaluated using the consensual assessment technique. The evaluation of this study provides suggestions for further research, but also implications for managers willing to explore TIC in their organization.