This article investigates (a) how serial idea generators in crowdsourcing contests adjust strategies (e.g., exploiting existing expertise and exploring new approaches) over time in response to the relative success of their prior creative ideas, and (b) how these changes in competitive strategies influence subsequent creativity performance. The research was conducted on Threadless, a website that crowdsources the creation of graphic designs through an ongoing competition. Empirical results from a longitudinal sample of 86 serial designers and their 1,714 submissions indicated that a higher level of design expertise was related to less exploration and greater exploitation behavior. Exploitation was also found to contribute to generating ideas that were highly rated by the crowd. For the crowdsourcer's decision as to whether to transform a submitted idea into a product for sale, neither exploration nor exploitation was found to be significant when controlling for crowd rating. Theoretical and practical implications for crowdsourcing are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Computer Networks and Communications
- Exploration and exploitation