Crowdsourcing and open innovation: A study of Amazon Mechanical Turk and Apple iOS

Open innovation has attracted widespread attention. A number of critical voices have recently surfaced who have called for a more rounded assessment that moves beyond the firm and the focus on benefits. In response, this paper provides a counterpoint to the positivity with a focus on labour issues and external actors. Attention is directed towards crowdsourcing and the ways in which firms have opened up their boundaries to external labour via a digital platform. Two distinct case studies -Amazon Mechanical Turk and Apple iOS -will be used to illuminate the nature of the relationship between the firm/platform owner and the external labour that participates in crowdsourcing. The study shows that while open innovation provides benefits at the firm level, this does not necessarily translate into benefits for labour.

Bergvall-Kåreborn, B. and Howcroft, D. (2013), 'Crowdsourcing and open innovation: A study of Amazon Mechanical Turk and Apple iOS,' in the 6th ISPIM Innovation Symposium – Innovation in the Asian Century, in Melbourne, Australia on 8-11 December 2013.


  • Case study-platform, Research publication
  • Other
  • Yes
  • professional services
  • Online moderately skilled click work
  • Amazon Mechanical Turk
  • employment status, platform characteristics and business model, work organisation
  • English
  • ISPIM Innovation Symposium (Publisher)
  • Qualitative research
  • 2013
  • Subscription
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