Technology

Revisiting the Role of Collaboration in Creating Breakthrough Inventions

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.