The crowd increasingly plays a key role in facilitating innovations in a variety of sectors, spurred on by IT developments and the concomitant increase in connectivity. Initiatives in this direction, captured under the umbrella term ‘crowd-based innovations’, offer novel opportunities in socio-technical systems by increasing the access, reach and speed of services. At the same time, they signify important challenges because these innovations occur in a context of traditional, well-established institutional and governance structures and practices. This dynamic is captured in the idea of the ‘institutional void’: the tension between traditional structures and (radically) new initiatives. Existing rules, standards and practices are challenged, which raises questions about the safeguarding of public values such as quality, legitimacy, efficiency and governance of crowd-based innovations. This article argues that understanding these tensions requires supplementing empirical research with an explicitly normative dimension to reach thorough and balanced conclusions to facilitate innovation while protecting the valuable elements in existing rules and regulations. Illustrated by a number of short examples, we propose a multidisciplinary research agenda towards formulating appropriate governance structures.
Original languageDutch
Pages (from-to)31-42
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Research areas

  • responsible innovation, institutional void, crowd-based innovations, governance

ID: 31112275