Human factors and the innovation process

Title: Human factors and the innovation process
Format: Journal Article
Publication Date: April 1996
Description: The goal of this paper is to describe two typologies of human factors that help explain the technical innovation process, and to illustrate their predictive power. The first typology defines five categories of inventors based on inventors' views of success and their corresponding attitudes toward technology, reaching the market, and creating a business. In diminishing order of likely technical innovation success, these five types are 'entrepreneurs with technology', 'industry-specific inventors', 'professional inventors', 'grantsmen', and 'inveterate inventors'. The second typology categorizes the motivations that underlie the choices made by inventors in the development of their technologies. Inventor motivations need to be considered by managers of innovation programs because the success of any innovation program requires that there be some degree of overlap between the program's goals and the inventor's own definition of success. These typologies can help managers of innovation programs direct scarce resources to inventors with the greatest probability of commercial success. They also indicate the types of assistance that will be most instrumental in accelerating the commercialization of new technologies. The ability of these typologies to explain rates of success in the commercial development of new technologies is illustrated using data from the small business and independent inventors who have participated in the Energy-Related Inventions Program (ERIP). The ERIP is a federal program operated jointly by the US Department of Energy and the National Institute of Standards and Technology and is designed to assist the development of non-nuclear inventions with outstanding potential for saving or producing energy.
Ivan Allen College Contributors:
Citation: Technovation. 16. Issue 4. 173 - 186. ISSN 0166-4972. DOI 10.1016/0166-4972(95)00046-1.
Related Departments:
  • Center for Urban Innovation
  • Climate and Energy Policy Laboratory
  • School of Public Policy