Online platforms are “intermediaries” that enable one user group (e.g., sellers) to provide information for another user group (e.g., buyers). In many instances, a platform creates a marketplace for user groups to make transactions that would not take place otherwise. A platform can perform a diverse set of functions such as crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, and resource sharing. In this project, we analyze important operational decisions of platforms or their customers. For instance, within the framework of crowdsourcing, we generate managerial insights on how to run an innovation contest where a seeker elicits innovative solutions from a group of solvers.
Online platforms have transformed businesses. For instance, with the advancements in online crowdsourcing platforms, many organizations today go beyond their in-house research & development capabilities. According to a 2016 report by Deloitte, “85% of the top global brands have used crowdsourcing in the last ten years.” Because these innovative business models are different from traditional businesses, there is a huge opportunity and an enormous need for academic research on how to operate such businesses. This project is a first step toward addressing this need.