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

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.

Policy implications 
The very nature of the innovation process and the organisations and institutions that support it raise nontrivial entry barriers to researchers interested in the experimental approach. Innovation contests could be used routinely to procure innovation and technology to good effect.
Kevin J. Boudreau and Karim R. Lakhani, "Innovation Experiments: Researching Technical Advance, Knowledge Production, and the Design of Supporting Institutions," Innovation Policy and the Economy 16 (2016): 135-167.