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Inaugural Lecture by Dr. rer. pol. Dipl.-Ing. Daniel Ehls: Increasing Probl...

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GISMA Business School

Goethestraße 18

30169 Hannover

Germany

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Inaugural Lecture by Dr. rer. pol. Dipl.-Ing. Daniel Ehls: Increasing Problem Solving Performance and Innovativeness contingent on Task Formulation: Insights from a large crowdsourcing study



Problem Solving is a key aspect for sustainable corporate success. Especially in recent times, solution inputs from beyond corporate boundaries are highly innovative and frequently superior to internal ideas. Yet, these open innovation initiatives are complex and underpinning rationales little understood. Corporations engage in external idea sourcing, but their initiatives lack the attraction of participants and result in low idea quality.

I discuss these challenges and introduce a novel mechanism to increase activity and solution value; the formulation of the problem opens multifold ways to higher success. I demonstrate my thinking with a large field experiment involving more than 30000 participants and drawing on theories of individual cognition. Depending on small changes of the task formulation every corporation can do, and keeping the base formulation constant, voluntarily participation doubles and the likelihood in obtaining top ideas triples. However, in combining stimulating formulations, solution seekers tap into a ‘too much of a good think’ effect. This study contributes to key theories of competitive advantage and holds important implications for managers to increase problem solving and boost innovation.

Dr. Daniel Ehls studied technology management at the University of Stuttgart (Germany) and Nottingham (England). From 2007 to 2011, he worked at Accenture as a management advisor for strategy and product development in several international projects with leading multinationals. He received his PhD in 2013 from Hamburg University of Technology for his research on open collaborative innovation communities. Dr. Daniel Ehls continued at the Institute for Technology and Innovation Management as head of the research unit Open and User Innovation and principal investigator for the project ‘open foresight’. His research concentrates on open and user innovation, as well as organization theory and problem solving in the digitalized economy. He specializes in distributed innovation processes, like crowdsourcing, external search, collaborative product development, and self-organizing communities. His research builds on mixed research approaches and empirical data, for which he frequently collaborates with business corporations. He gained further academic experience while lecturing at different universities as well as visiting scholar at Tokyo Tech University and at the Crowd Innovation Lab at Harvard University

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GISMA Business School

Goethestraße 18

30169 Hannover

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