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  1. Design artifacts in online innovation communities are increasingly becoming a primary source of innovation for organizations. A distinguishing feature of such communities is that they are organized around design artifacts, not around people. The search for novel innovations thus equates to a search for novel designs. This is not a trivial problem since the novelty of a design is a function of its relationship to other designs, and this relationship changes as each design is added. These relations between artifacts affect both consumption and production. Moreover, these relations form a landscape whose structure affects the emergence of novelty. We find evidence for our theorizing using an analysis of over 35,000 Thingiverse design artifacts. This work identifies the differential effects of different forms of novelty, visual and verbal, on subsequent innovation, and identifies the differential effects of different degrees of structure in the landscape on novelty.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2023
  2. Occupations, like many other social systems, are hierarchical. They evolve with other elements within the work ecosystem including technology and skills. This paper investigates the relationships among these elements using an approach that combines network theory and modular systems theory. A new method of using work related data to build occupation networks and theorize occupation evolution is proposed. Using this technique, structural properties of occupations are discovered by way of community detection on a knowledge network built from labor statistics, based on more than 900 occupations and 18,000 tasks. The occupation networks are compared across the work ecosystem as well as over time to understand the interdependencies between task components and the coevolution of occupation, tasks, technology, and skills. In addition, a set of conjectures are articulated based on the observations made from occupation structure comparison and change over time.