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.
Key words: radical inventions, patents, organizational learning, alliances.
JEL Codes: O30, O31, O32, O33, O34, D83.
UNU-MERIT Working Papers ISSN 1871-9872