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Innovation Experiments: Researching Technical Advance, Knowledge Production and the Design of Supporting Institutions

December 06, 2016 by Kevin J. Boudreau, Karim Lakhani

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This paper discusses several challenges in designing field experiments to better understand how organizational and institutional design shapes innovation outcomes and the production of knowledge. We proceed to describe the field experimental research program carried out by our Crowd Innovation Laboratory at Harvard University to clarify how we have attempted to address these research design challenges. This program has simultaneously solved important practical innovation problems for partner organizations, like NASA and Harvard Medical School, while contributing research advances, particularly in relation to innovation contests and tournaments.