Using text analysis of business method (BM) patents, we show that BM innovation in the US manufacturing and trade sectors improves how a firm targets customers, manages product delivery, or enhances the product through service offerings. We then show that BM innovation creates value on average, but the value is larger when (1) it is engaged by trade (vs. manufacturing) firms; and (2) the firm's BM innovation covers the range of customer targeting, product delivery, and product service support.
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.
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").