Novelty and the Structure of Design Landscapes: A Relational View of Online Innovation Communities (Open Access)

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Publication History

Received: July 16, 2017
Revised: July 26, 2018; July 3, 2019; July 9, 2020; January 25, 2021
Accepted: January 31, 2021
Published Online as Articles in Advance: August 29, 2022
Published in Issue: September 1, 2022

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Design artifacts in online innovation communities are increasingly becoming a primary source of innovation for organizations. A distinguishing feature of such communities is that they are organized around design artifacts, not around people. The search for novel innovations thus equates to a search for novel designs. This is not a trivial problem since the novelty of a design is a function of its relationship to other designs, and this relationship changes as each design is added. These relations between artifacts affect both consumption and production. Moreover, these relations form a landscape whose structure affects the emergence of novelty. We find evidence for our theorizing using an analysis of over 35,000 Thingiverse design artifacts. This work identifies the differential effects of different forms of novelty, visual and verbal, on subsequent innovation, and identifies the differential effects of different degrees of structure in the landscape on novelty.

Additional Details
Author Harris Kyriakou, Jeffrey V. Nickerson, and Ann Majchrzak
Year 2022
Volume 46
Issue 3
Keywords Novelty, design landscape, visual novelty, verbal novelty, structure, search, online innovation community, innovation, design artifacts, 3D printing
Page Numbers 1691-1720
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