Due to the heterogeneous nature of the crowd in online crowdsourcing, one key question discussed by academics and practitioners is whether participants are skilled enough to make valuable contributions. This research studies learning processes underlying idea generation in creative contests. Based on qualitative findings triangulating participants’ and brands’ perspectives, we identify six incoming and outgoing user skills which contribute to the development of valuable contributions and determine participation in future contests. Building on three types of brand instructions which emerge from the data, findings show how value is added by the collectivity and two complementary dynamics: (1) social learning and (2) learning from experience. From a managerial perspective, results provide guidance in designing successful crowdsourcing competitions by taking benefit from a multi-competent crowd.