The network topology of open innovation freelancing
Editor: Udo Lindemann, Srinivasan V, Yong Se Kim, Sang Won Lee, John Clarkson, Gaetano Cascini
Author: Pourmohamadi, Morteza; Dong, Andy
Institution: University of Sydney, Australia
eLancing is an emerging paradigm for outsourcing technical services wherein freelancers bid on projects posted in a large-scale online marketplace. When viewed in concert with other open innovation services such as kickstarter.com, a new networked innovation model is emerging: "very large scale innovation". "Very large scale innovation" networks supported by the Internet are a large-scale form of innovation networks connecting producers and inventors to investors and retailers. In this paper, we study the statistical mechanics of the network structure of the projects and providers in eLancing to ascertain structural preconditions for their effective operation. The unipartite project and provider networks and the collaboration network exhibit the properties of a homogeneous network whereas the associated skill networks exhibit the properties of an inhomogeneous, scale-free network. All of the networks except the provider network are small-world networks. These results point to the lack of coordination and collaboration between providers, which could provide an opportunity for them to pursue more complex projects, and a need for systems integration services.