The Role of Early Inventors in the Development of Follow: On Inventions & Science Translation

Paul-Emmanuel Anckaert, Bruno Cassiman

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


In this paper we examine the role early inventors, inventors actively engaged in the early-stage development of a technology, can play as an individual researcher connection to science during the lifecycle of a technology and how these early inventors impact the development of follow-on inventions. Analyzing the development of the lithium-ion battery, our study finds that early inventors can play a unique role in the science translation process and develop more valuable follow-on technologies than those inventors that only moved into the lithium-ion technology field at a later stage. Additionally, we show that by building up technology specific experience, and exploiting this experience in the development of follow-on inventions, inventors that only moved into the technology field at a later stage can mitigate, to a certain extent, the absence of an early inventor in the inventor team. These findings stress the importance of the involvement of discipline-trained scientists and inventors in the development of follow-on inventions in a given technology field.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes
Event77th Annual meeting of the Academy of Management: At the Interface - Georgia, Atlanta, United States
Duration: 4 Aug 20178 Aug 2017
Conference number: 77


Conference77th Annual meeting of the Academy of Management
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


  • Early inventors
  • Industry-science linkages
  • Technology trajectories

Cite this