Designing Improved Teams for Crowdsourced Competitions

Maier, T., and McComb, C.

2018, ASME IDETC - Design Theory and Methodology Conference

Teams are ubiquitous, woven into the fabric of engineering and design. Often, it is assumed that teams are better at solving problems than individuals working independently. Recent work in engineering, design, and psychology has indicated that teams may not be the problem-solving panacea that they were once thought to be. Crowdsourcing has seen increased interest in engineering design recently, and platforms often encourage teamwork between participants. This work undertakes an analysis of the performance of different team styles and sizes in crowdsourced competitions. This work demonstrates that groups of individuals working independently may outperform interacting teams on average, but that small interacting teams are more likely to win competitions. These results are discussed in the context of motivation for crowdsourcing participants.