Speaker: Harris Kyriakou, IESE Business School
"Design artifacts that are contributed and consumed in online innovation communities (OICs) are increasingly becoming a primary source of innovations for organizations. This extensive set of artifacts becomes a common good searched for consumption and contribution opportunities. We theorize this common good as a collectively searchable design landscape. As searches involve not simply looking for individual artifacts, but a broader general understanding of the relations among the design artifacts within the community, we examine the effect of these relationships among design artifacts in the common good and their effect on artifact consumption and contribution. Because artifacts are displayed in two modes – verbally and visually – and each mode requires a different form of cognitive processing for the searcher, we separate relationships among artifacts in to those based on visual attributes and those based on verbal attributes of the common good. We argue that consumers and contributors are using visual and verbal cues for different purposes: consumers are searching the landscape for artifacts with the goal of identifying a solution, while contributors are relationally searching the design landscape to identify gaps in the design landscape of where to contribute. Since consumers are often searching for novel artifacts, we look at the effect of novelty in the common good for verbal and visual attributes separately. Contributors interested in meeting this need for novelty of consumers may also be affected by relations between artifacts, but for a different purpose: to identify gaps in the way artifacts are organized which can be filled with novel contributions. We examine the consumption and contributions of over 35,000 Thingiverse designs and find empirical support for the separate and interactive effects of relational visual and verbal attributes. We contribute to the OIC literature by integrating past OIC research which has primarily distinguished between artifactual factors affecting consumption, and designer background affecting contribution. Additionally, we contribute to the broader literature on online knowledge production communities with our conceptual and operational distinctions between visual and verbal attributes, and the concept of a collectively searchable design landscape."