A literature review on markets for ideas: Emerging characteristics and unanswered questions

  • Natalicchio A
  • Messeni Petruzzelli A
  • Garavelli A
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Markets for ideas (MFIs) are virtual marketplaces connecting individuals and organizations selling their ideas (namely knowledge owners) to companies in search for specific innovative solutions (namely knowledge seekers). This phenomenon finds its root in the open innovation paradigm and empirical data clearly demonstrate how its economic importance is constantly growing, as well as the interest paid by academics. Nevertheless, despite their increasing relevance, it remains unclear which are the main dynamics and characteristics of these markets. Therefore, the present paper aims at providing an overview of this specific topic by reviewing and discussing the main findings available in the scientific literature. The analysis of the literature is structured around three main market dimensions - ideas, knowledge owners, and knowledge seekers. In addition, actual examples of MFIs are reported in order to strengthen literature's results. The contribution of this review is threefold. First, it provides an insight into the literature on MFIs, by collecting and describing the main features of ideas, knowledge owners, and knowledge seekers. Second, it presents propositions inferred by the characteristics emerging from the review. Finally, it spots literature gaps and traces new research directions. Hence, the study sheds new light on the main characteristics of MFIs, pointing out several research questions that need to be further addressed by scholars. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Author-supplied keywords

  • External knowledge
  • Innovation contests
  • Market for ideas
  • Open innovation

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