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Innovation Experiments: Researching Technical Advance, Knowledge Production, and the Design of Supporting Institutions

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  • Kevin J. Boudreau
  • Karim R. Lakhani

Abstract

This paper discusses several challenges in designing field experiments to better understand how organizational and institutional design shapes innovation outcomes and the production of knowledge. We proceed to describe the field experimental research program carried out by our Crowd Innovation Laboratory at Harvard University to clarify how we have attempted to address these research design challenges. This program has simultaneously solved important practical innovation problems for partner organizations, like NASA and Harvard Medical School (HMS), while contributing research advances, particularly in relation to innovation contests and tournaments. We conclude by proceeding to highlight the opportunity for the scholarly community to develop a “science of innovation” that utilized field experiments as means to generate knowledge.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin J. Boudreau & Karim R. Lakhani, 2016. "Innovation Experiments: Researching Technical Advance, Knowledge Production, and the Design of Supporting Institutions," Innovation Policy and the Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 135-167.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:ipolec:doi:10.1086/684988
    DOI: 10.1086/684988
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    Cited by:

    1. Oliver Schilke & Sheen S. Levine & Olenka Kacperczyk & Lynne G. Zucker, 2019. "Call for Papers-Special Issue on Experiments in Organizational Theory," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 30(1), pages 232-234, February.
    2. Ganguli, Ina & Le Coq, Chloé & Huysentruyt, Marieke, 2018. "How Do Nascent Social Entrepreneurs Respond to Rewards? A Field Experiment on Motivations in a Grant Competition," SITE Working Paper Series 46, Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics, revised 23 Nov 2020.
    3. Emma von Essen & Marieke Huysentruyt & Topi Miettinen, 2020. "Exploration in Teams and the Encouragement Effect: Theory and Experimental Evidence," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 66(12), pages 5861-5885, December.
    4. Ina Ganguli & Marieke Huysentruyt & Chloe Le Coq, 2018. "How Do Nascent Social Entrepreneurs Respond to Rewards? A Field Experiment on Motivations in a Grant Competition," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2018-21, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
    5. Jorge Guzman & Jean Joohyun Oh & Ananya Sen, 2020. "What Motivates Innovative Entrepreneurs? Evidence from a Global Field Experiment," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 66(10), pages 4808-4819, October.

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