Ideator Expertise and Cocreator Inputs in Crowdsourcing-Based New Product Development

John Jianjun Zhu, Stella Yiyan Li, Michelle Andrews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Crowdsourcing-based new product development (NPD) involves consumers in contributing ideas as ideators in the ideation phase, and providing inputs as cocreators in self-selected subtasks in the product development phase. The novelty of this NPD approach furnishes little understanding about the effect of crowds' self-select participation into ideation and development subtasks, and this study aims to bridge this gap. This article draws on the attention allocation perspective of online knowledge sharing to identify the domains of ideator expertise based on the types of development subtasks they self-selected to perform as cocreators in prior projects. It separately examines the impact of different domains of ideator expertise (marketing and engineering) and the interaction between ideators' expertise and cocreators' inputs on crowdsourcing-based NPD outcomes. Large-scale, longitudinal data from a crowdsourcing-based NPD platform reveal that ideators' engineering expertise helps convert ideas into final products more than ideators' marketing expertise. In contrast, ideators' marketing expertise helps these products achieve more sales than ideators' engineering expertise. Moreover, final products achieve more sales if ideators' marketing expertise embedded in initial product ideas is later augmented with either marketing or engineering-related development inputs by crowd cocreators. However, ideas generated by ideators with engineering expertise achieve fewer product sales when those ideas are complemented by more marketing-related development inputs by cocreators. These findings extend crowdsourcing-based NPD theory and furnish insight on managing crowdsourcing-based NPD platforms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)598-616
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Product Innovation Management
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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