Influential factors of crowdsourcing in SME's

Jens Præstgård Møller & Kristoffer Pahl

Student thesis: Diploma thesis


Open innovation is a term, that have received great attention. Opening your company’s mindset, to embrace the benefits of external collaboration is a trend, which companies around the world are benefiting from these years. This is thanks to the technological developments, that have made communication across borders and industry sectors easier. This development has opened new ways to collaborate and new ways to innovate. In this thesis, we will explorer crowdsourcing, which is a new way to run innovation processes. In crowdsourcing you post a problem to a group of people, who then individually or in groups develop solutions or ideas to solve the problem. This is typically done via online platforms and the contributions can be both paid or unpaid. Crowdsourcing has successfully been implemented by many of the world’s largest companies. 84% of the world’s most prestigious companies, including Dell, SAP and Google have started to build their own crowdsourcing platforms. These are companies with many resources and a substantial customers base. But what about the smaller companies and their experiences with crowdsourcing? In Denmark alone, more than 30% of the total workforce is employed in SMEs with less than 250 employees. These companies often have limited resources and leveraging on external knowledge can be key to successful innovation to them. It seems that SME´s could benefit greatly from using crowdsourcing, but the literature in this field is limited. Therefore, the focus of this paper, is to explore the factors that influence successful crowdsourcing in SMEs. This thesis is done as a cross-case analysis with an inductive and deductive approach. The qualitative data has been gathered through five semi-structured interviews with an explorative approach. All data has been coded and patterns have been identified based on the findings. Finally, the data has been triangulated with existing literature, to validate our findings. Three of the interviews is done with SMEs, who all have experience with crowdsourcing. The last two interviews were conducted as expert interviews, whereof one of the interviewees is perceived as a leading researcher within this field. The output of the data analysis in this thesis resulted in 11 factors, which influence successful crowdsourcing in SMEs; Idea generation, Preparations, IP and Trust, Outsiders, Lack of Resources, Daily Work, Leadership, Platforms, Social Bias and Picking the low hanging Fruits. These factors are all presented in this thesis, as well as the data that support them. The findings contribute to existing literature within this field, but also adds novel aspects to the understanding of how SMEs can benefit from crowdsourcing. Moreover, the findings could have a practical implication, by indicating which aspects SMEs have to consider, when they launch a crowdsourcing campaign.

EducationsGraduate Diploma in Innovation Management, (Diploma Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2018
Number of pages137
SupervisorsMarion Poetz