Simulating Product Invention using InventSim



This chapter describes a novel simulation model (InventSim) of the process of product invention. Invention is conceptualized as a process of directed search on a landscape of product design possibilities, by a population of profit-seeking inventors. The simulator embeds a number of real-world search heuristics of inventors, including anchoring, election, thought experiments, fitness sharing, imitation & trial and error. A series of simulation experiments are undertaken to examine the sensitivity of the populational rate of advance in product sophistication to changes in the choice of search heuristics employed by inventors. The key finding of the experiments is that if search heuristics are confined to those which are rooted in past experience, or to heuristics which merely generate variety, limited product advance occurs. Notable advance occurs only when inventor's expectations of the relative payoffs for potential product inventions are incorporated into the model of invention. The results demonstrate the importance of human direction and expectations in invention. They also support the importance of formal product/project evaluation procedures in organizations, and the importance of market information when inventing new products.

Book Chapter

Handbook of Research on Nature Inspired Computing for Economy and Management, pp. 379-394, IGI Global, September 2006

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