Figure 4 (left) shows that the probability of being a hit paper increases gradually with career and team novelty, but expedition novelty rises much more quickly as the strongest predictor. Papers involving the most unexpected publication events or conversations are 3.5 times more likely than random to be hit papers. Figure 4 (left) also shows that career and team novelties are highly correlated, suggesting that successful teams not only have members from multiple disciplines, but also members with diverse backgrounds who "glue" interdisciplinary teams together (also see Figure S3). Successful knowledge expeditions, however, are the most likely path associated with breakthrough discovery. When regressing content and context novelties of a paper separately on the three background novelty measures, we find that expedition novelty has by far the largest effect on context novelty (), but team novelty has the marginal top effect on . 2 3, p 0 0 1 β 2 .
It is widely believed that breakthrough innovation is more likely to be achieved by teams. Research has found that teams generally outperform individuals when attempting to create impactful innovations such as highly cited technological patents or scientific publications. However, our research has uncovered a factor that plays a key role in determining whether team outcomes will be superior to those of lone inventors: the structure of the invention -- that is, the extent to which the invention can be broken down into separate components or "modules." We analyzed 1,603,970 utility patents (awarded for innovation in function, such as for a product, process, or machine) and 198,265 design patents (innovation in form, such as a distinct visual configuration or ornamentation of a product), filed between 1985 and 2009 with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. We tallied the number of "breakthrough" inventions, defined as those whose number of citations is within the top 5% of its product class.
From self-driving vehicles and autonomous drones, to virtual doctors and automated personal assistants, AI is expected to fundamentally disrupt the way that people live, work and interact with each other. AI is increasingly the key to significant innovations across almost all segments of society, manifesting itself in vastly different applications. There are vast opportunities for businesses operating in industries where AI has become more prevalent. However, with these opportunities come significant challenges. Ashurst's series of articles on AI will consider these issues from an IP perspective.
It was 1923, and Francesco Ruffini was going to rescue science. The Italian senator's plan was simple: Give scientists an ownership stake in their discoveries--a sort of patent on the laws of nature they discovered. He had written a compelling and widely praised report and proposal, he had the backing of the newly formed League of Nations, and he had the support of prominent scientific and legal experts. But it took only a few years for Ruffini's grand plan to fall apart. Scientists around the world rejected the plan, and lawmakers shelved it.
The creative spark is one of humanity's defining features. But increasingly powerful artificial intelligence (AI) is bringing innovation and automation together to create new tools for invention. Eureka moments tend to come from the rare convergence of ideas from diverse fields, says Julian Nolan, chief executive of Iprova. However, growing specialisation among experts means this is becoming even rarer, he adds, often relying on chance meetings at conferences or a fortuitous conversation at the office coffee machine. "How crazy is it that something so key to corporations is based on human serendipity?" says Mr Nolan.