Connecting the Dots in Idea Markets: A Study of Inventor Diversity and its Implications for Idea Development
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A Master's Thesis from Copenhagen Business School on innovation management in Novozymes A/S. ...
A Master's Thesis from Copenhagen Business School on innovation management in Novozymes A/S.
This thesis examines the abilities of online idea markets to support idea generation and screening in the fuzzy front-end of the innovation process. Idea markets – spun out from the present digital revolution – is a growing phenomenon that may have potential to facilitate innovation, greater participation, development of knowledge, and increased diversity. The proliferation of interconnectivity of diverse and geographically dispersed individuals enabled by the refinement of the Internet is hypothesized to offer opportunities for the development of creative and novel ideas. Due to the embryonic stage of the idea market concept, further research is considered relevant for both practitioners and scholars. This thesis thus attempts to provide empirical evidence of the implications of diversity for the development of ideas. The research is embedded in a case study of Novozymes A/S (NZ) – a leading biotechnology company in the industrial enzyme industry – and an idea market conducted in the fall of 2011. For the analysis in this thesis, I use statistical measures of quantitative data collected from (i) the external consultancy firm NOSCO who specializes in idea markets, (ii) the HR department in NZ, and (iii) the Screen Team in NZ. The findings from the analysis support the hypothesis that the quality of ideas emerging from online idea markets increase with the diversity of inventors involved in developing the ideas. This finding may support NZ and other organizations when designing forthcoming idea markets. Furthermore, to support the notion of combinatorial innovation, one could argue that idea markets facilitate new connections of skills and disciplines by engaging a diverse crowd of participants. By implementing the idea market tool in NZ, R&D Management was able to mobilize and connect a large crowd of organizational members, provide a channel that could leverage ideas, and increase the quality of go/kill decisions in the idea screening process. The fact that NZ has scheduled nine other idea markets in 2012 is considered an indicator of the success of the tool.
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