Abstract

Crowdsourcing has been identified as a valuable paradigm in the open design movement. In engineering design, it offers various benefits, such as the generation of diverse ideas and the involvement of consumers. Despite the potential benefits, there are many ways in which crowdsourcing initiatives may fail. An example of such a failure is when a previously successful initiative for a large organization fails to attract a suitable number of participants with diverse expertise for a start-up. Consequently, the start-up does not receive good sets of ideas, both in quantity and variety. Such failures of crowdsourcing initiatives are common due to the lack of appropriate design of crowdsourcing initiatives based on the organizational characteristics such as its size. While frameworks and guidelines exist for the design of crowdsourcing initiatives, whether these are useful for all sizes of organizations, is yet to be determined. Large organizations such as Procter & Gamble and NASA, now conduct crowdsourcing initiatives regularly. Furthermore, start-ups are emerging that leverage crowdsourcing as an integral part of their business model. On the contrary, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have fallen behind in the adoption of crowdsourcing processes. In this paper, we aim to identify the challenges associated with crowdsourcing and how and whether these differ according to organizational size. We present the results of an interview study with industry professionals from five organizations of varying sizes, and yield key challenges associated with the application of crowdsourcing. This paper discusses suggested support mechanisms for crowdsourcing in SMEs and directions for further research for crowdsourcing in engineering design.

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