Managing consumer behavior in ideation contests

Increasingly many consumers are interested in becoming an active part in idea generation. The increasing online connectedness and emerging methods and platforms for co-creation provide consumers with the opportunity to play a greater role in the exchanges with companies and their value creation. The TIM Research Group of RWTH Aachen University is working on a study about the management of ideation contests, and seeking the input of InnovationManagement.se readers.


One approach for co-creation with consumers is ideation contests. In these contests, companies are searching for new ideas offered to them by customers, who are often equipped with exclusive solution and need information. For this purpose, the company defines a particular challenge topic, which is posted on an online platform. Customers are invited to provide ideas and suggestions to solve the challenge. At the end of the contest, the company awards the winning ideas and decides on the future use of the ideas for the company.

Consumers are becoming more active and asserting during their collaboration with companies.

While we see that already a lot of consumers participate in co-creation activities like ideation contests, we also observe that the behavior of some consumers in these co-creation activities is changing. A special group of consumers are becoming more active and asserting during their collaboration with companies. They want to be further involved in the development process and even in company’s decisions.

Management of consumers’ behavior in ideation contests is of important role.

As ideation contests have a lot of participants and observers and subsequently contributions become visible to “the world” firms give up a substantial amount of control. Hence, these ideation platforms can also be used to place negative content and companies are challenged to achieve their desired results and to prevent a social media disaster. Hence, the management of consumers’ behavior in ideation contests is of crucial importance. To find out more about this interesting phenomenon, please participate in an RWTH Aachen University research on the management of ideation contests:

Please take the survey – results will be shared

TIM Research Group of RWTH Aachen University is working on a study about the management of ideation contests, and therefore seeking the input of the innovationmanagement.se readers.

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In their study, they present examples from real-life ideation contests, and ask you about your opinion on how you would have managed them.

To help us with our study simply click on the link below, or copy/paste the entire URL into your browser to access the survey:

Participate here: http://www.unipark.de/uc/ideationcontest/

Of course innovationmanagement.se readers will get access to the results of the study and will be able to read about implications for innovation managers.

By: Alexandra Gatzweiler, Vera Blazevic and Frank T. Piller

About the authors


Alexandra Gatzweiler is research associate at TIM Research Group, RWTH Aachen University. In her research, Alexandra found, that in almost every co-creation contests some elements of unwanted co-creation can be observed, in some cases as strong that huge brands have been forced to close their contest in fear for loss of reputation and control. The aim of her research is to use the creative potential of deviant co-creators and formulate an appropriate response to deviant behavior.



Vera Blazevic is Visiting Professor at the TIM Group, RWTH Aachen University. She is also affiliated with Radboud University Nijmegen, Institute for Management Research, Department of Marketing. Her main research interests are in the area of strategic marketing, in particular, on co-creation in innovation and service delivery and on sustainability in open innovation. She has published in various journals, such as the Journal of Marketing, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Service Research, and Journal of Business Research.


Frank T. Piller is a professor of management and director of the Technology & Innovation Management Group of RWTH Aachen University, Germany. He also is an Executive Faculty Member of the MIT Smart Customization Group at the MIT Design Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA. Before entering his recent position in Aachen, he worked at the MIT Sloan School of Management (BPS, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Group, 2004-2007) and has been an associate professor of management at TUM Business School (1999-2004).

Photo: Young Man Working by Shutterstock.com

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