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The complex search process of invention

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  • Maggitti, Patrick G.
  • Smith, Ken G.
  • Katila, Riitta
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    Abstract

    We inductively develop a process model of individual search in the context of technological invention, an important aspect of economic development that is also fundamental to the success of many organizations. Using an extensive archival content analysis of notable inventors we find that the search and discovery process of invention is inherently complex, non-linear, and disjointed. Successful inventors are skilled at managing these complex systems, receptive to feedback, and able to revisit and change course. Our search model includes a stimulus, net casting for information, categorizing that information, linking unrelated ideas, and discovery. Our findings articulate the search process as a complex progression through a series of simple stages. As such, the study contributes to our understanding of complexity and the complex systems view of the invention process.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048733312001370
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Research Policy.

    Volume (Year): 42 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 90-100

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:42:y:2013:i:1:p:90-100

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/respol

    Related research

    Keywords: Innovation; Invention; Search; Discovery;

    References

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    1. Lippman, Steven A & McCall, John J, 1976. "The Economics of Job Search: A Survey: Part I," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 14(2), pages 155-89, June.
    2. Grimpe, Christoph & Sofka, Wolfgang, 2009. "Search patterns and absorptive capacity: Low- and high-technology sectors in European countries," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 495-506, April.
    3. Jasjit Singh & Morten T. Hansen & Joel M. Podolny, 2010. "The World Is Not Small for Everyone: Inequity in Searching for Knowledge in Organizations," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(9), pages 1415-1438, September.
    4. Cowley, Elizabeth & Mitchell, Andrew A, 2003. " The Moderating Effect of Product Knowledge on the Learning and Organization of Product Information," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(3), pages 443-54, December.
    5. Atul Nerkar & Srikanth Paruchuri, 2005. "Evolution of R&D Capabilities: The Role of Knowledge Networks Within a Firm," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(5), pages 771-785, May.
    6. Baron, Robert A., 2004. "The cognitive perspective: a valuable tool for answering entrepreneurship's basic "why" questions," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 221-239, March.
    7. Reinganum, Jennifer., . "Strategic Search Theory," Working Papers 353, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
    8. Levinthal, Daniel & March, James G., 1981. "A model of adaptive organizational search," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 307-333, December.
    9. Winter, Sidney G., 1984. "Schumpeterian competition in alternative technological regimes," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 5(3-4), pages 287-320.
    10. Fabrizio, Kira R., 2009. "Absorptive capacity and the search for innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 255-267, March.
    11. Lippman, Steven A & McCall, John J, 1976. "The Economics of Job Search: A Survey," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 14(3), pages 347-68, September.
    12. Loken, Barbara & Ward, James C, 1990. " Alternative Approaches to Understanding the Determinants of Typicality," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 111-26, September.
    13. Jensen, Richard, 1982. "Adoption and diffusion of an innovation of uncertain profitability," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 182-193, June.
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    Cited by:
    1. Peeters, T.J.G., 2013. "External knowledge search and use in new product development," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-5906731, Tilburg University.

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