Crowdsourcing for Business Model Innovation: The case of Digikala

On November 15, 2015, Digikala, the biggest online store in the Middle East, launched its first-ever crowdsourcing contest called “A glance at tomorrow.” What really distinguishes this contest from common crowdsourcing initiatives is that it was aimed at Business Model Innovation BMI rather than product and process innovation. Crowdsourcing is proven to be an effective means for firms to boost their product and process innovation. However, it is not clear if crowdsourcing can be as effective for BMI as it is for product and process innovation. Based on data from the Digikala’s crowdsourcing contest, this research provides insights into the use of crowdsourcing for BMI. First we explore certain characteristics of participants that affect the quality of their submitted ideas. Knowing these characteristics enables a company to create the right conditions for effectively leveraging crowd for BMI. Then, we investigate how different crowd-contributor characteristics relate to innovation in different business model components. Our findings not only contribute to the growing literature on BMI but also provide companies with practical insights on how to fine-tune their crowdsourcing initiatives to better support their BMI process.
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