Keywords: patents, network, innovation, Deloitte
Our clients at Deloitte depend on technological advancement to compete. However, there is not a standard measure of technological advancement. To meet this deficiency, we represent patent data as a network to compute an ‘Innovation Index’ which shows how centrally an industry is positioned within the patent universe. USPTO patent data, with its extremely detailed classification schema and citations, is both an informative source of progressing knowledge and is suitable for our type of analysis. Specifically, patent classifications identify ~1,000 technologies that can be represented by nodes, while patent citations can be seen as quantifiable links between technologies. Quantitative variables resulting from a network application (such as page rank) give us the opportunity to assess how individual technologies are gaining or losing strength compared to other technologies. Companies can be ranked against each other over time based on how much they contribute to important technologies within the knowledge network. By computing the ‘Innovation Index’ for 10 years, we can inform clients how much they are contributing to innovation and how their field is evolving.