John Prpic and Prashant Shukla

Beedie PhD students John Prpić (left) and Prashant Shukla have seen their research become one of the most downloaded papers on the subject of open innovation in 2013 on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN).

Research from two Beedie School of Business PhD students has become a top paper on the subject of open innovation for 2013, with almost 500 downloads on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN), a leading repository of business academic papers.

The paper, “The Theory of Crowd Capital”, was authored by Beedie PhD students Prashant Shukla and John Prpić, and examines the increasing number of organizations using IT to engage dispersed populations of individuals for knowledge purposes. Through exploration of the theory of Crowd Capital, it generalizes a new theory to explain how and why rapidly growing IT phenomena such as crowdsourcing, citizen science, wikis, and prediction markets are occurring.

The research has garnered significant interest from both the practitioner and academic communities, being listed at the popular online innovation community IdeaConnection, and receiving positive feedback from academics across the globe, including blogs by scholars from both Harvard and Tufts.

“It’s exciting to see that our work has gained some rather rapid attention, though more exciting perhaps, is the relevance to both the practitioner and academic audiences” said Prpić. “Every day we are observing new organizations – corporations, governments, universities, non-profits – launching new IT applications to access the dispersed knowledge of individuals around the globe, and it seems that we may be approaching a new paradigm in this regard.”

“The fact that our research is getting attention from both practitioners and academics is really exciting for us,” said Shukla. “Thanks to the PhD training at the Beedie School of Business, we have been able to develop a simple yet powerful theory, and are continuing to receive great support from the department to build upon this initial success.”

Open innovation is the term used to describe the shift in organizations from using a so-called closed innovation process towards a more open, collaborative way of innovating. In open innovation, both internal and external ideas are combined within the firm, along with internal and external paths to market, to advance the innovation activities for the firm.

The SSRN was established in 1994 by Michael Jensen, a financial economist at Harvard Business School. In a 2008 New York Times profile, SSRN was pinpointed for being “increasingly influential” in academic circles.