Comparative processes are crucial to how consumers evaluate design. What we show, however, is that consumers can be sophisticated in such comparisons. Given a novel design, they would lean on its similarities to past designs to understand its functionalities, but also lean on dis-similarities to other contemporary designs to seek distinctiveness and express their individuality.
We challenge the notion that collaboration is always better than working alone. In our study using technological and design patents we find that the decomposability of the invention significantly moderates the effectiveness of the lone inventor. Particularly, tasks that are less decomposable relatively advantages the lone inventor. We also show that lone inventors working on non-decomposable inventions and who have collaborated widely in the past outperforms even teams.
Using data from a major medical body scanner manufacturer, we show that free-rider problems impose a heavy cost in the maintenance of medical body scanners, and that pay per service maintenance plans can improve performance and reduce costs.
We show how one can identify styles (categories of product design that are perceived to be similar) using design patents. Using this data set we show that (i) style turbulence (unpredictable changes in style) is increasing over time, and (ii) technological turbulence (unpredictable changes in technology) have a U-shaped relationship to style turbulence. I use this data platform to study other questions (see e.g., “Anchored Differentiation”).