Crowdfunding Communities
Crowdfunding is changing how innovative products are being funded and adopted in society. By allowing both professional and novice creatives the ability to seek publicity and financial support from an extended online audience, crowdfunding provides a more democratic model for entrepreneurship and innovation. While many see crowdfunding as more accessible than traditional funding mechanisms like angel investing and venture capitalism, it is not an easy task. Novice crowdfunders are often overwhelmed by the work involved and fail to successfully leverage and build online connections and social capital. These challenges motivate our research to understand and design support tools for crowdfunding challenges in order to help more novice creatives successfully introduce their ideas into the marketplace.

Hui, J., Greenberg, M., Gerber, E. Understanding the Role of Community in Crowdfunding WorkACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW) 2014, 62-74. (Best Paper Honorable Mention)

Gerber, E., Hui, J. Crowdfunding: Motivations and Deterrents for ParticipationACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interactions (TOCHI) 2013.

Hui, J., Gerber, E. Crowdfunding Science: Sharing Research With an Extended AudienceACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW) 2015.

Hui, J., Gerber, E., Gergle, D. Understanding and Leveraging Social Networks for Crowdfunding: Opportunities and ChallengesACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS) 2014.

Harburg, E., Hui, J., Greenberg, M., Gerber, E. The Effects of Crowdfunding on Entrepreneurial Self-EfficacyACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW) 2015.

Makerspaces for Entrepreneurship
The demographics of makerspaces are expanding. Originally created for hobbyists who make for fun, makerspaces are now gaining popularity as sites of entrepreneurship. If we visit a makerspace today, we might see a person building an LED lamp for his home, but we might also see a person building a series of clocks she intends to market on her personal website, an artisan entrepreneurship platform like Etsy, or a crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter. Already, makerspaces have been the birthplace of some of today’s most successful ventures, like the Pebble Smartwatch, Makerbot 3D Printer, Oculus Rift, and Nest Thermostat. Yet, our understanding of the expanding professional role of makerspaces is limited. I seek to understand how makerspaces support entrepreneurs through social learning and self-efficacy development opportunities.
(With Liz Gerber – Northwestern

Hui, J., Gerber, E. Makerspaces as Sites of Entrepreneurship . ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW) 2017 (forthcoming).

Crowd-Driven Innovation
We are in the process of creating a curriculum that teaches students how to involve, interact, and utilize the crowd in their design process. Online crowds have the ability to provide quick and diverse feedback from a broad audience.  In this design based research approach, we seek to understand how interacting with the crowd benefits and hinders learning and motivation in the design process. We are working to create a set of activities that involve interacting with the crowd on various crowdwork and social media platforms, such as Amazon Mechanical Turk and Twitter. Follow our progress and try out the activities at This project is funded by the NSF Cyberlearning Grant. (With Liz Gerber – Northwestern, and Steven Dow – Carnegie Mellon)

Hui, J., Gerber, E., Dow, S. Crowd-Based Design Activities: Helping Students Connect with Users OnlineACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS) 2014.

Hui, J., Glenn, A., Jue, R., Gerber, E., Dow, S. Using Anonymity and Communal Efforts to Improve Quality of Crowdsourced Feedback. AAAI Conference on Human Computation and Crowdsourcing (HCOMP) 2015.

Designing for Inclusion and Diversity in Innovation Teams
An openness to diversity positively impacts team innovation by helping people incorporate new perspectives in creative ways. We seek to understand what roles socio-technological tools play in both the collaboration and community context to help ad-hoc creative collaborations leverage team diversity to increase innovation. Through a survey study of 132 participations combined with 20 in-depth follow-up interviews, we found that women perceive their collaboration as more innovative the more they felt included. We found that higher personal communication tool usage, such as email and phone calling, negatively affected inclusion for women in tech-focused collaborations. Through our interviews, we identified opportunities for socio-technical interventions to increase both diversity and inclusion at the collaboration and community level. (With Shelly Farnham – Microsoft Research)

Hui, J., Farnham, S. Designing for Inclusion: Supporting Gender Diversity in Independent Innovation Teams. ACM Conference on Supporting Groupwork (GROUP) 2016


** Above image shows four different ways of visualizing the funding connections of over 1,000 project creators and backers on Kickstarter. Network images created in Gephi. **