Considering the Materiality of Service Innovation

MISQ Archivist
The Algorithm and the Crowd: Considering
the Materiality of Service Innovation
Wanda J. Orlikowski and Susan V. Scott
This special issue acknowledges important innovations in the world of service and within this domain we are particularly
interested in exploring the rise and influence of web-based crowd-sourcing and algorithmic rating and ranking
mechanisms. We suggest that a useful way to make sense of these digital service innovations and their novel
implications is to recognize that they are materialized in practice. We thus need effective conceptual and analytical tools
that allow us to take materiality seriously in our studies of service innovation. To this end, we propose some theoretical
ideas relating to a sociomaterial perspective, and then highlight empirically how this perspective helps us analyze the
specific service materializations enacted through the algorithmic configuring of crowd-sourced data, and how these make
a difference in practice to the outcomes produced.
Keywords: Algorithms, crowds, innovation, materiality, performativity, practice, sociomateriality