The Crowdfunding Idea Contest of BMW

Jovanovic T, Bansemir B, Kirchner M, Voigt KI (2017)

Publication Language: English

Publication Type: Conference contribution, Conference Contribution

Publication year: 2017

Event location: Vienna AT


Idea contests integrate customers into innovation processes and enhance product development of companies. Utilizing the “wisdom of the crowd” as means to improve idea generation and idea assessment has received rising popularity in research and practice alike. One new mechanism to enhance such crowd-based approaches is a crowdfunding idea contest. Crowdfunding as important platform-based financial concept is based on the collective intelligence or rather wisdom of crowd-mechanism as the crowd decides what projects to fund and thus realize. In a corporate context, crowdfunding enables customers to propose own ideas on digital platforms and to promote other ideas by allocating a given monetary budget, leading to knowledge sharing and improving innovation management processes. Enterprises employing a crowdfunding idea contest have to cope with strategic decisions and design issues.

In this paper, we analyze the strategic decision process that lead to the design of a crowdfunding idea contest and investigate the design elements of such a customer-oriented innovation approach. The research method for our study is two-fold. First, in a pre-study we derive design elements for crowdfunding idea contests by conducting expert interviews. Second, we use a case study approach to analyze the case of an idea contest called “Mobility Experience Challenge” carried out by the German automotive company BMW in collaboration with the crowdfunding platform Startnext. The idea contest addressed external individuals that were asked to submit their ideas for innovative apps used in conjunction with cars and to evaluate them. We were able to accompany the decision-making process of BMW during the design of the crowdfunding initiative, including challenges and ways of how to overcome these.

The results show that BMW’s idea contest is based on the triad marketing, evaluation and financing. Moreover, several strategic discussion rounds and adjustments were needed until the initiative was designed. The contest design includes several different factors that can be clustered in organization, funding object and contest. Organization refers to the strategic level of the initiative, focusing on BMW. Funding object and contest contain concrete design elements that focus on the crowd.

The findings of this study are highly relevant for the implementation of a new idea generation and selection approach in innovation management, which is critical for being competitive in technology driven markets. We introduce crowdfunding as new form of an idea contest on digital platform. Our employed design perspective of a company-driven crowdfunding has concrete practical implications for the implementation by companies.

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How to cite


Jovanovic, T., Bansemir, B., Kirchner, M., & Voigt, K.-I. (2017). The Crowdfunding Idea Contest of BMW. In Proceedings of the International Association for Management of Technology (IAMOT) Conference. Vienna, AT.


Jovanovic, Tanja, et al. "The Crowdfunding Idea Contest of BMW." Proceedings of the International Association for Management of Technology (IAMOT) Conference, Vienna 2017.

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