Less Specialization Could Mean More Breakthrough Inventions
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Less Specialization Could Mean More Breakthrough Inventions

A EC FUNDED RESEARCH PROJECT BY DENNIS VERHOEVEN EXPLORES HOW INVENTORS DECIDE WHETHER TO BUILD UP DIVERSE OR SPECIALIZED KNOWLEDGE

Dennis Verhoeven, a post-doc researcher currently at the London School of Economics and KU Leuven will move to Bocconi’s Department of Management and Technology next academic year. At the same time, his grant-winning research project DIV_INV (Knowledge Diversity Building by Inventors) will be kicked off. The European Commission, through its Horizon 2020 program, has financed the project with a Marie SkÅ‚odowska-Curie Individual Fellowship worth €170,000.
 
The project leverages on the recent observation that inventor teams involving an individual with diverse knowledge are more likely to introduce breakthrough inventions. «In the light of a general trend towards specialization and teamwork», Dr. Verhoeven says, «this finding raises concern about an undersupply of breakthrough inventions and warrants policy intervention to stimulate individual knowledge diversity. However, to design effective policy instruments, we need to know how highly skilled knowledge workers make decisions regarding the scope of their expertise throughout their careers». That’s why DIV_INV aims to explicate the mechanisms driving knowledge diversity decisions of individual inventors.

by Fabio Todesco

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