OVERVIEW: Along with other Web 2.0 market intelligence tools, online idea competitions can provide essential input for decision making in the early phases of product innovation. However, in order to use online competitions effectively, it is essential to know when to use which
method, how to use it, and to what extent virtual and conventional research techniques can be used interchangeably or complementarily. A first step toward assessing the power of Web 2.0 techniques is to compare them with traditional ones. We compare the expense and results of online idea competitions
with focus groups for idea generation in the market for senior citizen mobile phones and services. We find that idea competitions lead to more and better ideas at a lower cost per idea, while focus groups yield richer interactions with users.
Research-Technology Management has been publishing peer-reviewed articles covering the entire spectrum of technological innovation since 1958. RTM is a leading source of knowledge and best practices on innovation management, from research and development through product development to marketing, for leaders of research, development, and engineering worldwide.