The Power of Individual-level Drivers of Inventive Performance

Thomas Zwick, Katharina Frosch, Karin Hoisl, Dietmar Harhoff

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    We combine two lines of research on inventive and creative performance that have been separated before. We use empirical models of the performance of inventors over their careers based on an established theoretical framework of the drivers of creativity, the Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, and Other (KSAO) model. We link survey information spanning the inventors’ entire careers and psychometric test evidence with patent history data for more than 1000 inventors. We also control for variables that have traditionally been used in studies of inventive performance including inventor age, applicant type, technology, patent, and time information. We show that educational level, skills acquired during the career, personality traits, career motivation, cognitive ability, and cognitive problem-solving style are significantly related to inventive performance.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalResearch Policy
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)121–137
    Number of pages17
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017


    • Inventive performance
    • Individual-level drivers
    • Patent history
    • Survey

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