Crowdsourcing for Innovation in the Danish Building Industry: Valuation as a Sociomaterial Practice

Andreas Kamstrup, Peter Holm Jacobsen

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review


The aim of this paper is to inquire into a digital platform designed and operated to create innovations within the Danish building industry. In the innovation literature this kind of new ICT is known as a crowdsourcing intermediary (Zogaj, Bretschneider, & Leimeister, 2014). The study is ongoing and draws upon two years of ethnographic field studies and longitudinal digital explorations of a platform designed to enable interactions between members of the site (the crowd) and a competition owner: The competition owner formulates and uploads a question whereas the crowd offer solutions in response to this question. The paper contributes to the understanding of ICT driven innovation by suggesting that such a platform cannot satisfyingly be understood merely as a connection mechanism between crowd and competition owner. Conversely our study shows that the digital materiality of the platform co-constitutes which kinds of solutions the crowd produces. We analyze the platform as a sociomaterial practice (Orlikowski & Scott, 2008), by focusing on digital infrastructure and design, jury meetings, the question formulation and the screening processes as well as the community management. We conceptualize the platform dynamics as a novel form of competition and examine how the “open call” for innovative solutions unfolds in practice: We borrow terminology from the architectural competition (Kreiner, 2012), from economic sociology (Stark, 2011) and valuation theory (Karpik, 2010), and show 1) how assessment criteria are being negotiated in practice and 2) propose that winning projects must be understood as situated effects of the sociomateriality of the platform. Finally, we conclude with a discussion of the limitations of crowdsourcing as a tool for creating innovation.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2015
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventThe 23rd Nordic Academy of Management Conference. 2015: Business in Society - Copenhagen Business School (CBS), Frederiksberg, Denmark
Duration: 12 Aug 201514 Aug 2015
Conference number: 23


ConferenceThe 23rd Nordic Academy of Management Conference. 2015
LocationCopenhagen Business School (CBS)
Internet address


  • Crowdsourcing
  • Sociomateriality
  • Architectural competition
  • Valuation
  • Innovation

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