Organising for Openness: What happens when Crowdsourcing encounters the Architectural Competition?

Andreas Kamstrup, Peter Holm Jacobsen

Abstract


This paper examines how crowdsourcing works as a novel type of competition in the building industry. Crowdsourcing has been suggested as a way to optimise architectural output, process, efficiency and learning across competitions. Based on two years of ethnographic field studies and a number of in-depth interviews, this study used openness as a point of entry, as it is an important concept in both architectural competitions and newer innovation paradigms. An affordance analysis was conducted of the crowd members’ interactions with platform design in a case study, and four concrete affordances were established: (1) The platform is easy to join; (2) it is relatively easy to participate in the hosted competitions; (3) crowd members focus on strengthening and positioning their own work; and (4) crowd members appropriate the work of other crowd members. The findings were used in assessing how openness on an online platform matters in relation to other competition practices in the architectural world. It was concluded that the platform studied did succeed in establishing a crowd of competition participants, but failed to establish collaborative actions between these crowd members.

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