IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/inm/ormnsc/v57y2011i1p107-128.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Opportunity Spaces in Innovation: Empirical Analysis of Large Samples of Ideas

Author

Listed:
  • Laura J. Kornish

    () (Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 80309)

  • Karl T. Ulrich

    () (The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104)

Abstract

A common approach to innovation, parallel search, is to identify a large number of opportunities and then to select a subset for further development, with just a few coming to fruition. One potential weakness with parallel search is that it permits repetition. The same, or a similar, idea might be generated multiple times, because parallel exploration processes typically operate without information about the ideas that have already been identified. In this paper we analyze repetition in five data sets comprising 1,368 opportunities and use that analysis to address three questions: (1) When a large number of efforts to generate ideas are conducted in parallel, how likely are the resulting ideas to be redundant? (2) How large are the opportunity spaces? (3) Are the unique ideas more valuable than those similar to many others? The answer to the first question is that although there is clearly some redundancy in the ideas generated by aggregating parallel efforts, this redundancy is quite small in absolute terms in our data, even for a narrowly defined domain. For the second question, we propose a method to extrapolate how many unique ideas would result from an unbounded effort by an unlimited number of comparable idea generators. Applying that method, and for the settings we study, the estimated total number of unique ideas is about one thousand for the most narrowly defined domain and greater than two thousand for the more broadly defined domains. On the third question, we find a positive relationship between the number of similar ideas and idea value: the ideas that are least similar to others are not generally the most valuable ones. This paper was accepted by Lee Fleming, entrepreneurship and innovation.

Suggested Citation

  • Laura J. Kornish & Karl T. Ulrich, 2011. "Opportunity Spaces in Innovation: Empirical Analysis of Large Samples of Ideas," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(1), pages 107-128, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:57:y:2011:i:1:p:107-128
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1100.1247
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Rothschild, Michael, 1974. "Searching for the Lowest Price When the Distribution of Prices Is Unknown," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(4), pages 689-711, July/Aug..
    2. Jan W. Rivkin & Nicolaj Siggelkow, 2003. "Balancing Search and Stability: Interdependencies Among Elements of Organizational Design," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(3), pages 290-311, March.
    3. Morgan, Peter & Manning, Richard, 1985. "Optimal Search," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(4), pages 923-944, July.
    4. Olivier Toubia, 2006. "Idea Generation, Creativity, and Incentives," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(5), pages 411-425, September.
    5. Lippman, Steven A & McCall, John J, 1976. "The Economics of Job Search: A Survey: Part I," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 14(2), pages 155-189, June.
    6. Robert A. Baron & Michael D. Ensley, 2006. "Opportunity Recognition as the Detection of Meaningful Patterns: Evidence from Comparisons of Novice and Experienced Entrepreneurs," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(9), pages 1331-1344, September.
    7. Stylianos Kavadias & Svenja C. Sommer, 2009. "The Effects of Problem Structure and Team Diversity on Brainstorming Effectiveness," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(12), pages 1899-1913, December.
    8. Weitzman, Martin L, 1979. "Optimal Search for the Best Alternative," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(3), pages 641-654, May.
    9. Svenja Sommer & Stylianos Kavadias, 2009. "The Effects of Problem Structure and Team Diversity on Brainstorming Effectiveness," Post-Print hal-00491685, HAL.
    10. Jan W. Rivkin & Nicolaj Siggelkow, 2007. "Patterned Interactions in Complex Systems: Implications for Exploration," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(7), pages 1068-1085, July.
    11. Lippman, Steven A & McCall, John J, 1976. "The Economics of Job Search: A Survey," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 14(3), pages 347-368, September.
    12. Ely Dahan & Haim Mendelson, 2001. "An Extreme-Value Model of Concept Testing," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(1), pages 102-116, January.
    13. Michael Rothschild, 1974. "Searching for the Lowest Price When the Distribution of Prices Is Unknown: A Summary," NBER Chapters,in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 3, number 1, pages 293-294 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Martin, Xavier & Mitchell, Will, 1998. "The influence of local search and performance heuristics on new design introduction in a new product market," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(7-8), pages 753-771, April.
    15. Kohn, Meir G. & Shavell, Steven, 1974. "The theory of search," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 93-123, October.
    16. George J. Stigler, 1961. "The Economics of Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 69, pages 213-213.
    17. Jasjit Singh & Lee Fleming, 2010. "Lone Inventors as Sources of Breakthroughs: Myth or Reality?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(1), pages 41-56, January.
    18. Karan Girotra & Christian Terwiesch & Karl T. Ulrich, 2010. "Idea Generation and the Quality of the Best Idea," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(4), pages 591-605, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:tefoso:v:128:y:2018:i:c:p:67-73 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Marco LiCalzi & Oktay Surucu, 2012. "The Power of Diversity over Large Solution Spaces," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(7), pages 1408-1421, July.
    3. Ethan Mollick & Ramana Nanda, 2016. "Wisdom or Madness? Comparing Crowds with Expert Evaluation in Funding the Arts," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 62(6), pages 1533-1553, June.
    4. Barry L. Bayus, 2013. "Crowdsourcing New Product Ideas over Time: An Analysis of the Dell IdeaStorm Community," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 59(1), pages 226-244, June.
    5. Runtian Jing & Mary Benner, 2016. "Institutional Regime, Opportunity Space and Organizational Path Constitution: Case Studies of the Conversion of Military Firms in China," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(4), pages 552-579, June.
    6. Gideon D. Markman & Michael Russo & G. T. Lumpkin & P. Devereaux (Dev) Jennings & Johanna Mair, 2016. "Entrepreneurship as a Platform for Pursuing Multiple Goals: A Special Issue on Sustainability, Ethics, and Entrepreneurship," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(5), pages 673-694, July.
    7. Sanjiv Erat & Vish Krishnan, 2012. "Managing Delegated Search Over Design Spaces," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(3), pages 606-623, March.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:57:y:2011:i:1:p:107-128. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mirko Janc). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/inforea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.