Open innovation is a hot topic in innovation management. Its basic premise is open up the innovation process. The innovation process, in general sense, may be seen as the process of designing, developing and commercializing a novel product or service to improve the value added of a company. The development of Web 2.0 tools facilitates this kind of contributions, opening space to the emergence of crowdsourcing innovation initiatives. Crowdsourcing is a form of outsourcing not directed to other companies but to the crowd by means of an open call mostly through an Internet platform.
Innovation intermediaries, in general sense, are organizations that work to enable innovation, that just act as brokers or agents between two or more parties. Usually, they are also engaged in other activities like inter-organizational networking and technology development and related activities. A crowdsourcing innovation intermediary is an organization that mediates the communication and relationship between the seekers – companies that aspire to solve some problem or to take advantage of any business opportunity – with a crowd that is prone to give ideas based on their knowledge, experience and wisdom.
This paper identifies and analyses the functions to be performed by an intermediary of crowdsourcing innovation through grounded theory analyses from literature. The resulting model is presented and explained.
The resulting model summarizes eight main functions that can be performed by a crowdsourcing process, namely, diagnoses, mediation, linking knowledge, community, evaluation, project management, intellectual property governance and marketing and support. These functions are associated with a learning cycle process which covers all the crowdsourcing activities that can be realized by the broker.