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Crowdsourcing innovative service ideas: The effect of negative interactions on ideation forums’ effectiveness

Philippe Duverger (College of Business and Economics, Department of Marketing, Towson University, Towson, Maryland, United States)

Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology

ISSN: 1757-9880

Article publication date: 19 October 2015




The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how negatively worded innovative ideas can be rejected during a crowdsourcing event sponsored by a service firm via an online forum. The goal of an ideation forum is to collect user-generated content in the form of ideas for new products or services. An ideation forum attempts to clarify the “fuzziness” on the front-end of new product development.


A 2 × 2 (satisfied/dissatisfied customers and negatively/positively worded ideas) experiment replicates the effect of mood-incongruent interactions within ideation forums and measures the likelihood for an idea to be buried or selected on the basis of its merit rather than its negative/positive wording.


The results demonstrate that mood-incongruent interactions have different effects on different groups of participating customers. Negatively worded innovative ideas are rated lower by satisfied customers, despite their superior merit.

Research limitations/implications

The nature of the experiment shows a high validity, but lacks in reliability. Thus, future research should attempt to replicate this experiment on a larger scale and across different industries.

Practical implications

In an open forum where thousands of customers can give a thumbs’ up or down to an idea, merit should prevail over mood-congruency. If the crowdsourcing mechanism cannot be trusted, it puts the burden back on the firm’s review team to promote or review any downgraded innovative idea, which ends up being counterproductive.


These findings shed light on the hidden aspect of crowdsourcing when the aim is to find unique, if not radical, ideas for services. Thus, hoteliers and other hospitality and tourism managers should use these findings to design better ideation forums.



Duverger, P. (2015), "Crowdsourcing innovative service ideas: The effect of negative interactions on ideation forums’ effectiveness", Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 228-241.



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