Biosensors & Bioelectronics

ISSN: 2155-6210

Open Access

The Love of Inventing, from Veblen to Amabile: A Look at the Construct “Inventor/Innovator” from the Era of Edison to Today’s Corporate R&D Scientist


Quttainah MA* and Cocco J

Large firms, having a desire to achieve disruptive innovation, will need to rely on the inventive, innovative, and entrepreneurial spirit of the “hired” inventors they employ to do such work. This report traces the roots of the theories of motivation concerning the construct “inventor/innovator” from the time of the heroic individual inventor in the late 1800s until today, within the context of the evolution of the corporate R&D institution. Understanding the motivations and characteristics of the early “heroic” individual inventor as well as the evolving theory of appropriate R&D management strategy in large firms might chart a path to creating a better corporate environment for radical innovation (and better results). Characteristics observed over one hundred years ago align well with the current theories of the best way to enhance corporate employee creativity, leading to higher innovation rates, what Veblen called “the instinct of workmanship” parallels closely to what Amabile defines as “intrinsic motivation”.


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