Essays on Innovation: Identifying and Selecting New Technologies and Enhancements in Existing Products

Date of Completion

January 2010


Business Administration, Management|Information Technology




In a global economy with intense competition, companies face tremendous pressure to become more innovation-driven. With the development of information technologies, many companies are seeking to incorporate novel IT-based approaches in their business practices, such as evaluating emerging technologies, generating ideas for new products and services, etc. Motivated by this phenomenon, I explore in my dissertation how companies can take advantage of two new techniques: information preference markets (I-PREFS) and firm-sponsored online brainstorming (FOB). ^ My dissertation consists of six chapters. Chapter 1 gives an introduction of the whole dissertation. Chapter 2 focuses on how companies can use information preference markets (I-PREFS) to rank and evaluate emerging technologies. This research is a joint work with our partner company who finds its current evaluation process expensive, inflexible, and incapable to handle a large number of emerging technologies. We develop two preference markets to evaluate 17 emerging technologies. Our result shows that extra participation-based play money helps motivate participation, boost preference aggregation in terms of converging prices, and improve consistence of preference market with an independent expert panel. ^ Chapter 3 extends the research of I-PREFS by examining whether participants reveal their true information. Using a series of controlled laboratory experiments, we are able to identify participants' revealed preference. Our results show that most participants reveal their preference consistently. We also find that I-PREFS and post-market survey are much closer to the expert panel's ranking. ^ Chapter 4 explores how companies can use firm-sponsored online brainstorming (FOB) to harness external publics' innovative knowledge. Since most FOBs are voluntary electronic brainstorming settings, FOB sponsors need a better understanding of key factors that influence participants' contributing activities and active duration. Guided by related literature, we established a theoretical framework and developed a series of hypotheses. Using data collected from Dell IdeaStorm, we find that peer feedback and sponsoring firm feedback do influence participants' contribution but at different levels. In addition, sponsoring firm responsiveness is a key factor in both motivating and retaining participants Chapter 5 summarizes several other empirical analyses on FOB. Chapter 6 concludes the dissertation. ^