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Education for Innovation: Entrepreneurial Breakthroughs vs. Corporate Incremental Improvements

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  • William J. Baumol

Abstract

This paper explores the following hypotheses on the appropriate education for innovating entrepreneurship: a) breakthrough inventions are contributed disproportionately by independent inventors and entrepreneurs, while large firms focus on cumulative, incremental (and often invaluable) improvements; b) education for mastery of scientific knowledge and methods is enormously valuable for innovation and growth, but can impede heterodox thinking and imagination; c) large-firm R&D requires personnel who are highly educated in extant information and analytic methods, while successful independent entrepreneurs and inventors often lack such preparation; d) while procedures for teaching current knowledge and methods in science and engineering are effective, we know little about training for the critical task of breakthrough innovation.

Suggested Citation

  • William J. Baumol, 2004. "Education for Innovation: Entrepreneurial Breakthroughs vs. Corporate Incremental Improvements," NBER Working Papers 10578, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10578
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    1. Acs, Zoltan J & Audretsch, David B, 1988. "Innovation in Large and Small Firms: An Empirical Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 678-690, September.
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    JEL classification:

    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development

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