Studying Industry Disruption Using Crowdsourced Tournaments

John Paul MacDuffie, Rahul Kapoor, and Daniel Wilde, Management, The Wharton School

Abstract: Emerging technologies and business models, while promising enormous economic growth via industry disruption are characterized by significant uncertainty regarding whether, when, and how those growth opportunities would be realized. Yet managers, investors, entrepreneurs and policymakers have to account for the uncertainty and make critical strategic decisions regarding technology and business model innovations well in advance of the resolution of that uncertainty. We seek to explore how individuals evaluate the uncertainty during the nascent period of industry disruption, and to identify factors that can help improve their forecasting accuracy. To do so, we will draw on a recently developed research methodology of forecasting tournaments. Over the last six years, we have been designing and running forecasting tournaments surrounding the theme of disruption in the automotive ecosystem. These research efforts, made possible by the generous support of Mack Institute, have been rewarded by the academic community. We are seeking funding for the next phase of research in which we plan to expand the forecasting tournament to consider individual-level differences that may impact forecasting accuracy, explore issues of learning across forecasting tournaments, explore important emerging competitive dynamics within the automotive industry, and chronicle a rich historical narrative of industry disruption across seven years.