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A case study analysis of the success factors in Web-based and offline social innovation competitions

A case study analysis of the success factors in Web-based and offline social innovation competitions
A case study analysis of the success factors in Web-based and offline social innovation competitions
Social innovation competitions are short-term, non-profit social innovation practises, utilised to drive collaborative effort for encouraging the production of innovations that have a dedicated social impact. Factors such as innovation quality, collaboration potential and social impact are perceived as being central to the success of social innovation competitions. From these three core factors, this thesis determines the strength of these factors amongst Web-based and offline social innovation competition. With reference to these success factors, the definition of social innovation competitions is founded, stating that without these primary factors, one may not be able to operate a successful social innovation competition. Detracting from the typical for-profit innovation and fundraising models, social innovation competitions are focused on obtaining solutions to the challenge rather than profit or finance. Facilitated by the Web, social innovation competitions can be conducted in an online or an offline setting, with innovation managers selecting either method depending upon their particular objectives.

This selection is largely because each method of social innovation competition (online or offline) appears to have comparatively different success factors and outcomes as a result. Namely, social innovation competitions conducted in an online setting are potentially subject to higher scalability, through an increase in innovation responses and potential for more participants, but such innovations may indeed lack in the quality necessary to tackle the challenge in any great depth. On the other hand, offline social innovation competitions are understood to be subject to lower scalability, but can provide better methods of collaboration with a few high quality innovations, that are targeted and facilitate the use of multiple sets of skills from a variety of innovators. These factors of social innovation competitions determine that innovation managers and innovation professionals can appropriately leverage the optimum method of social innovation competition dependant upon the aims and objectives of the organisation or challenge.

This exploratory study utilises a mixed methods approach to uncovering such success factors and their respective trade-offs. Initiating the line of enquiry with two cases (the PORT social innovation competition and the Microworkers social innovation competition) observations are made as to the format, structure and outputs of each competition, gaining insight from innovators and their innovative endeavours. Furthermore, surveys are conducted to gather perceptions on the success factors in both online and offline social innovation competitions, aiming to understand whether there are trade-offs that occur when either performing an online or an offline version of a social innovation competition. Finally a Delphi study is conducted in order to gather opinions from experts on these topics. This final study supports the triangulation of data for further insight into this new and uncharted field of study. It is concluded that offline social innovation competitions should generally be used for obtaining targeted, product-based innovations of a high quality, whereas Web-based social innovation competitions should be used as a market research method, obtaining surface-level insight into the trends and expectations of consumers and innovators in a particular market.
University of Southampton
Beeston, Gareth P
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Beeston, Gareth P
87920e90-3a09-424b-9132-87563fd2a63a
Tiropanis, Athanassios
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Harris, Lisa
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Wainwright, Thomas
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Phethean, Christopher J
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Simperl, Elena
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Beeston, Gareth P (2018) A case study analysis of the success factors in Web-based and offline social innovation competitions. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 158pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Social innovation competitions are short-term, non-profit social innovation practises, utilised to drive collaborative effort for encouraging the production of innovations that have a dedicated social impact. Factors such as innovation quality, collaboration potential and social impact are perceived as being central to the success of social innovation competitions. From these three core factors, this thesis determines the strength of these factors amongst Web-based and offline social innovation competition. With reference to these success factors, the definition of social innovation competitions is founded, stating that without these primary factors, one may not be able to operate a successful social innovation competition. Detracting from the typical for-profit innovation and fundraising models, social innovation competitions are focused on obtaining solutions to the challenge rather than profit or finance. Facilitated by the Web, social innovation competitions can be conducted in an online or an offline setting, with innovation managers selecting either method depending upon their particular objectives.

This selection is largely because each method of social innovation competition (online or offline) appears to have comparatively different success factors and outcomes as a result. Namely, social innovation competitions conducted in an online setting are potentially subject to higher scalability, through an increase in innovation responses and potential for more participants, but such innovations may indeed lack in the quality necessary to tackle the challenge in any great depth. On the other hand, offline social innovation competitions are understood to be subject to lower scalability, but can provide better methods of collaboration with a few high quality innovations, that are targeted and facilitate the use of multiple sets of skills from a variety of innovators. These factors of social innovation competitions determine that innovation managers and innovation professionals can appropriately leverage the optimum method of social innovation competition dependant upon the aims and objectives of the organisation or challenge.

This exploratory study utilises a mixed methods approach to uncovering such success factors and their respective trade-offs. Initiating the line of enquiry with two cases (the PORT social innovation competition and the Microworkers social innovation competition) observations are made as to the format, structure and outputs of each competition, gaining insight from innovators and their innovative endeavours. Furthermore, surveys are conducted to gather perceptions on the success factors in both online and offline social innovation competitions, aiming to understand whether there are trade-offs that occur when either performing an online or an offline version of a social innovation competition. Finally a Delphi study is conducted in order to gather opinions from experts on these topics. This final study supports the triangulation of data for further insight into this new and uncharted field of study. It is concluded that offline social innovation competitions should generally be used for obtaining targeted, product-based innovations of a high quality, whereas Web-based social innovation competitions should be used as a market research method, obtaining surface-level insight into the trends and expectations of consumers and innovators in a particular market.

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Published date: June 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 429616
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/429616
PURE UUID: 58c101fa-ca3e-4344-b5b5-0860cfd4940a
ORCID for Athanassios Tiropanis: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-6195-2852
ORCID for Christopher J Phethean: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-7697-6585
ORCID for Elena Simperl: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-1722-947X

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 01 Apr 2019 16:31
Last modified: 02 Apr 2019 00:34

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Contributors

Author: Gareth P Beeston
Thesis advisor: Athanassios Tiropanis ORCID iD
Thesis advisor: Lisa Harris
Thesis advisor: Thomas Wainwright
Thesis advisor: Christopher J Phethean ORCID iD
Thesis advisor: Elena Simperl ORCID iD

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