Episodes of Collective Invention
The process of developing technology through open discussion has been called collective invention. Open source software projects have this form. This paper documents two earlier episodes of collective invention and proposes a general model based on search theory. One episode was the development of mass production steel in the U.S. (1866-1885), and the second with early personal computers (1975-1985). Technical people openly discussed and shared these developing technologies between firms. Collective invention episodes begin with an invention or a change in legal restrictions. Hobbyists and startup firms experiment with practical methods of production and share their results through a social network whose members gradually form a new industry. The network itself may disappear if the firms then keep their R&D secret. A model of an innovation search can describe this process if it is expanded to include independent hobbyists and consultants as well as profit-seeking firms.
|Date of creation:||Aug 2003|
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- Alessandro Nuvolari, 2001.
"Collective Invention during the British Industrial Revolution The Case of the Cornish Pumping Engine,"
DRUID Working Papers
01-05, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
- Alessandro Nuvolari, 2004. "Collective invention during the British Industrial Revolution: the case of the Cornish pumping engine," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(3), pages 347-363, May.
- Nuvolari, A., 2001. "Collective Invention during the British Industrial Revolution: The Case of the Cornish Pumping Engine," Working Papers 01.04, Eindhoven Center for Innovation Studies.
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- Weber, Steven, 2000. "The Political Economy of Open Source Software," UCAIS Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy, Working Paper Series qt3hq916dc, UCAIS Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy, UC Berkeley.
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- Richard R. Nelson, 1982. "The Role of Knowledge in R&D Efficiency," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 97(3), pages 453-470.
- Cowan Robin & Jonard Nicolas, 2000.
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- Schrader, Stephan, 1991. "Informal technology transfer between firms: Cooperation through information trading," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 153-170, April.
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- Julia Porter Liebeskind & Amalya Lumerman Oliver & Lynne G. Zucker & Marilynn B. Brewer, 1995. "Social Networks, Learning, and Flexibility: Sourcing Scientific Knowledge in New Biotechnology Firms," NBER Working Papers 5320, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Allen, Robert C., 1983. "Collective invention," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 1-24, March.
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