Where are the ultimate sources of technological breakthroughs? What makes a firm more likely to invent a breakthrough or to exploit external breakthroughs? We develop an evolutionary model of invention as a process of recombinant variation and selection. Our contributions are to highlight the skewed outcome distributions resulting from evolutionary search and to develop theory that can be tested by modeling the higher moments of search processes. Recent methodological and data collection advances make such testing possible. We motivate further research, develop our model's strategic implications, and discuss how managers might create and respond to breakthroughs.
Fleming, L. and Szigety, M. (2006), "Exploring the Tail of Creativity: An Evolutionary Model of Breakthrough Invention", Baum, J.A.C., Dobrev, S.D. and Van Witteloostuijn, A. (Ed.) Ecology and Strategy (Advances in Strategic Management, Vol. 23), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 335-359. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0742-3322(06)23011-0Download as .RIS
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