Teachers and staff members will be asked to complete a single survey that will enter each of them into two separate contests. The first contest will prompt participants to share their best idea that will “help [the firm] increase the number of students enrolled into music classes,” and the second contest will prompt participants to share their best idea that will “help [the firm] do something better.” The ideas will be evaluated based on their creativity, which has two parts, novelty and usefulness. The parameters of the contests will vary in two ways: (1) who the evaluators of the ideas are and (2) the incentive structure for sharing ideas.
Participants will be told that they will be competing against approximately 50 others. They will be told that their ideas will be evaluated either by a panel of top-level executives or by a panel of fellow teachers/staff members (their peers). In each of the two contests, the participant with the most creative idea will be recognized nationally. In some treatment arms, the participant with the most creative idea will receive a $250 prize. In other treatment arms, the ten participants with the ten most creative ideas will receive $25 prizes.
After being told the parameters (who their evaluators will be and whether they are competing for one $250 prize or ten $25 prizes), participants will be prompted to answer the two contest questions. They will then be asked to answer several questions about their tenure with the firm, work experience in education, habits for idea generation, connectedness, creativity, risk aversion, and demographics. All participants who complete the survey once will receive a $5 participation fee. Participants will be allowed to take the survey multiple times, but they will only receive the $5 participation fee for the first submission. Ideas from each additional survey submission will be entered into the contests for national recognition and prize money.
All submitted ideas will be de-identified when individuals from the two different groups read and evaluate the creativity of the ideas. Corporate executives and other (non-competing) teachers/staff members will use a 100-point scale to judge the novelty, usefulness, and creativity of each idea. The ideas with the best average creativity score will determine the winners of each contest, and prizes (Visa gift cards) will be awarded to the winners (participation fee Visa gift cards will be sent out to all participants at this time, too). The randomization procedure to place participants into treatment arms is as follows:
• There are three treatment arms: (1) Executive Evaluation with one $250 prize; (2) Executive Evaluation with ten $25 prizes; (3) Peer Evaluation with one $250 prize.
• There are 92 offices clustered in 27 different states/provinces (called regions) in North America.
• We will randomly allocate the 27 regions into one of the three treatment arms, making sure there is reasonable balance in the number of offices and eligible participants in each treatment arm.
• We will allocate individuals into treatment arms at the region-level to attenuate the possibility that workers in different treatment arms communicate with one another about the different parameters of their respective contest.
Teachers and staff members will not be required to complete the survey. Participation is voluntary, so the final number of participants/ideas in each treatment arm will vary. Participation rates, however, are a useful dependent variable for creative idea generation, as all teachers and staff members at participating locations will be invited to participate in the survey and told the parameters of the competition that pertain to their office.