Evolution and Recombinattion in Open Source Hardware

Sunday, 15 February 2015
Exhibit Hall (San Jose Convention Center)
Harris Kyriakou, Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ
Recombination of prior knowledge is one of the most widely used innovation creation methods. However, little is known about the relationship between the degree of novelty of a proposed idea and its success, and even less on the interaction between combinatorial innovation and novelty. An online community where participants can modify and combine each other’s product designs provides an opportunity to study the evolution of products. An analysis of 35,727 objects suggests that both novelty and the modification/combination of prior ideas are related to invention success: Highly novel designs based upon preexisting designs are 3.9 times more reused, 2.9 times more manufactured and 2.5 times more popular than imitative designs that did not build upon prior work. These findings are a step toward understanding innovation processes, in which thousands of individuals together co-create and build upon each other’s work.