Recently in a reading group I participate in, we re-read an article by Banahan and Playfoot (2004) where they argue that the current economy emphasizes and rewards creativity instead of efficiency. They provide several pieces of data to support their position, including the fact that patents have risen dramatically. However, is the rising number of patents an indication of creativity or of the ridiculous practice where businesses use their lawyers to chase after patents for inventions that were not solely theirs? An example is the report today that Dell wants to trademark the term “cloud computing.” What a joke.
So the question is, if patents cannot be trusted as a good indication of creativity, what could we use instead?
Banahan, Eoin, and James Playfoot. (2004). “Socio-Organisational Challenges in the Creative Economy.” In Collaborative Networked Organizations: A Research Agenda for Emerging Business Models. Edited by L. M. Camarinha-Matos and H. Afsarmanesh. Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2004.