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Work, Technology and ParticipationICU - Internes Crowdsourcing in Unternehmen


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ICU - Internes Crowdsourcing in Unternehmen: Arbeitnehmergerechte Prozessinnovationen durch digitale Beteiligung von Mitarbeiter/innen


Project description


Considering Crowdsourcing from the Employee’s Point of View

As a direct result of the technological developments of the past decade, internal crowdsourcing (IC) represents a new form of in-house knowledge dissemination and digital collaboration. Through IC, a group of employees (the crowd) generate ideas and solutions through a digital platform which lead to novel products and services or optimize existing offers. For companies, the resulting increase in efficiency is obviously attractive. However, the acceptance of IC by employees, who are supposed to engage in other business processes beyond their day-to-day responsibilities, is hampered by the lack of sustainable incentives for the work done in the crowd. To ensure that employees are motivated in the long term and can unlock the existing potential of IC for themselves, the process, which is currently used exclusively as innovation management, must be further developed. In particular, the employee-friendly design of internal crowd work has hitherto taken a somewhat overlooked perspective in the context of IC applications.


IC Best Practice Model for Future Reference

The goal of ICU is to develop a hands-on, employee-friendly, internal crowd-sourcing model that serves as a reference case of good practice for future crowdsourcing activities. The focus of the model design is the employee-friendly aspect of the application, the digital participation of employees in corporate processes and the opening of competency enhancements through crowd work. The reference model addresses the three main operational topics of innovation management, employee participation and qualification and combines them strategically. In doing so, it helps companies to mobilize existing, unused knowledge and competences internally, to connect them cross-divisionally and to involve them productively in company processes. At the same time, it improves the direct communication between management and staff, simplifies the identification of employees' skills and the qualification measures that suit them.


Multi-level model development using participatory method

Based on case study analyzes, a basic model for IC is first developed. It consists of a strategy for IC with the components "Innovation Management", "Employee Participation" and "Qualification & Training" as well as an IC platform. This basic IC model will be adapted, tested and further adjusted into a good practice model for IC by the practice partner for its own application in the energy services sector. Subsequently, the consortium and their extended project network will evaluate the good-practice-model and transform it into a cross-industry reference model by using participatory methods. In principle, the project pursues a participatory approach in which all stakeholders (workforce / works council / company management) and projects partners are actively involved in the development process through participatory measures from the start of the project.


Knowledge Transfer and Dissemination of the Project Results

The research results and practical experience as well as checklists and guidelines for IC will be available through the project website even after the end of ICU. One of the key project outcomes will be a model planting agreement specifically targeted at works councils and unions. Another one will be action-ready implementation guidelines for companies that summarize the operational framework identified in ICU, management processes and quality standards. Furthermore, the project results will be transferred via targeted public relations, publications, workshops as well as other public events and a final conference.


  • Technische Universität Berlin: Institut für Berufliche Bildung und Arbeitslehre/ FG Arbeitslehre/Partizipation und Technik
  • Institut für Softwaretechnik und Theoretische Informatik/ FG Quality and Usability Lab
  • Institut für Technologie und Management/ FG Innovationsökonomie;
  • Institut für Zukunftsstudien und Technologiebewertung Berlin;
  • Innovationszentrum für Mobilität und gesellschaftlichen Wandel
  • Crowdee GmbH
  • FST – Forum Soziale Technikgestaltung beim DGB Baden-Württemberg


 Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Project Duration

06/2017 – 05/2020

Responsible Staff


Project Leader & Senior Researcher: Hannah Ulbrich

Senior Researcher: Dr. Marco Wedel

Student Assistant , Franziska Hamann-Wachtel




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