IT-enabled innovation contest platforms: an exploration of the impacts and mechanisms of social capital

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Treacy, Stephen
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University College Cork
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IT-enabled innovation contest platforms are quickly growing in prominence due their provision of a cost effective, yet far reaching method of allowing organisations to connect with a global network of innovation solvers. Borne of the open innovation movement, this phenomenon and the research surrounding it have emerged suddenly and proliferated rapidly. Although conceptual support for the relevance of social capital as an antecedent of innovation seems compelling, there is a distinct lack of research to support this in existing literature. The result is that little is understood by scholars and practitioners in terms of its influence in the overall contest setting. This research study explores the heretofore unexplored influences of social capital toward these contests. Empirical data was gathered through two rounds of data collection, a pilot study of Trend Micro along with case studies of 15 separate IT-enabled innovation contest platforms. Through this analysis, three theoretical models emerged from the findings, which in turn formed: i. A preliminary theory of social capital for innovation contest platforms ii A preliminary theory of social capital for competitive markets iii A preliminary theory of social capital for collaborative communities The study contributes to IS theory and practice in several ways. Firstly, it provides the first investigation of social capital theory within the innovation contest domain. Through the research strategy implemented, social capital theory is revealed to be a valid and appropriate theoretical lens that can be implemented by future researchers. Secondly, this investigation provides a solid foundation for further investigations, and the academic community is encouraged to validate and refine the theorisations presented herein. Thirdly, the findings serve to identify the strategic value of social capital constructs, while also presenting the mechanisms used to facilitate their development. Fourthly, the findings of this study highlight the need for an understanding of appropriate management strategies towards social capital within the innovation contest platforms.
Social capital , Open innovation , Innovation contest
Treacy, S. 2016. IT-enabled innovation contest platforms: an exploration of the impacts and mechanisms of social capital. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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