To investigate the nature of inventiveness among members of the Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR) and learn what influenced the inventors and assisted their creativity.Materials and Methods
The membership directory of the SIR was cross-referenced with filings at the United States Patent and Trademark Organization (USPTO) and the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). The inventors were queried with an online survey to illuminate their institutions of training and practice as well as enabling or inhibiting factors to their inventiveness. Responses were analyzed through the construction of social network maps and thematic and graphical analysis.Results
It was found that 457 members of the SIR held 2,492 patents or patent filings. After 1986, there was a marked and sustained increase in patent filings. The online survey was completed by 73 inventors holding 470 patents and patent filings. The social network maps show the key role of large academic interventional radiology departments and individual inventors in the formation of interconnectivity among inventors and the creation of the intellectual property (IP). Key inhibitors of the inventive process include lack of mentorship, of industry contacts, and of legal advice. Key enablers include mentorship, motivation, and industry contacts.Conclusions
Creativity and inventiveness in SIR members stem from institutions that are hubs of innovation and networks of key innovators; inventors are facilitated by personal motivation, mentorship, and strong industry contacts.