Innovation in Retrospect: An Exploratory Study of Trends in the Levels of Innovation

  •  Stav Rosenzweig    


The 20th century was characterized by growing trends of consumption and the introduction of new products that offered consumers various levels of innovation. The abundance of new products made technological innovation a central characteristic of 20th century consumer culture. Interestingly, when reflecting upon outstanding innovations of the 20th century, many of these seem to have been innovated during its early rather than late decades. The present exploratory study examines the occurrence of trends in the level of innovation in the 20th century. Using two complementary studies based on both objective and subjective innovation measures, our findings suggest that (1) trends in the level of innovation are observable and vary across industries, and (2), generally speaking, the level of innovation seems to be higher in the early decades of the 20th century, with the two different analyses indicating a decline in the level of innovation toward the end of the 20th century.

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