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Radical versus Non-Radical Inventions

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  • Schoenmakers, Wilfred

    ()
    (Hasselt University)

  • Duysters, Geert

    ()
    (UNU-MERIT)

  • Vanhaverbeke, Wim

    ()
    (Hasselt University)

Abstract

This paper looks at the special characteristics of radical inventions. It tries to identify those variables that differentiate radical inventions from non-radical inventions. Since radical inventions are very important for the economy as a whole and for the individual firm performances, understanding what makes radical inventions differ from non-radical inventions is very important. For our research we made use of the EPO (European Patent Office) database on patents. We used the number of forward patent citations per patent to identify radical from non-radical inventions. For our analysis we used the backward patent citations per patent. In order to test if the two groups we are considering are truly different and to see on what factors they differ we made use of discriminant function analysis. Some of our main conclusions are that radical inventions are to a higher degree based on existing knowledge than non-radical inventions. Also the combination of emergent and mature knowledge is more important for radical inventions. A further result that follows from our analysis is that radical inventions are induced by the recombination over more knowledge domains as compared to non-radical inventions. Our research hints also on the importance of alliances and an open innovation system for the development of radical inventions.

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File URL: http://www.merit.unu.edu/publications/wppdf/2008/wp2008-036.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT) in its series MERIT Working Papers with number 036.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:unm:unumer:2008036

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Related research

Keywords: radical inventions; patents; organizational learning; alliances;

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References

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  1. Bronwyn H. Hall & Adam Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg, 2002. "Market Value and Patent Citations: A First Look," Development and Comp Systems 0201001, EconWPA.
  2. Achilladelis, Basil & Schwarzkopf, Albert & Cines, Martin, 1990. "The dynamics of technological innovation: The case of the chemical industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 1-34, February.
  3. Dahlin, Kristina B. & Behrens, Dean M., 2005. "When is an invention really radical?: Defining and measuring technological radicalness," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 717-737, June.
  4. Patel, Pari & Pavitt, Keith, 1997. "The technological competencies of the world's largest firms: Complex and path-dependent, but not much variety," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 141-156, May.
  5. Bart Verspagen & Wilfred Schoenmakers, 2004. "The spatial dimension of patenting by multinational firms in europe," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 23-42, January.
  6. Lee Fleming, 2001. "Recombinant Uncertainty in Technological Search," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(1), pages 117-132, January.
  7. Dahlin, Kristina & Taylor, Margaret & Fichman, Mark, 2004. "Today's Edisons or weekend hobbyists: technical merit and success of inventions by independent inventors," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(8), pages 1167-1183, October.
  8. Atul Nerkar, 2003. "Old Is Gold? The Value of Temporal Exploration in the Creation of New Knowledge," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(2), pages 211-229, February.
  9. Narin, Francis & Noma, Elliot & Perry, Ross, 1987. "Patents as indicators of corporate technological strength," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 16(2-4), pages 143-155, August.
  10. Albert, M. B. & Avery, D. & Narin, F. & McAllister, P., 1991. "Direct validation of citation counts as indicators of industrially important patents," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 251-259, June.
  11. Dietmar Harhoff & Francis Narin & F. M. Scherer & Katrin Vopel, 1999. "Citation Frequency And The Value Of Patented Inventions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(3), pages 511-515, August.
  12. Carpenter, Mark P. & Narin, Francis & Woolf, Patricia, 1981. "Citation rates to technologically important patents," World Patent Information, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 160-163, October.
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