Our own Iacopo Iacopini (QMUL and the Alan Turing Institute) and Vito Latora (QMUL), researchers from the Complex Systems & Networks group have developed a mathematical model for the emergence of innovations.
Studying creative processes and understanding how innovations arise and how novelties can trigger further discoveries could lead to effective interventions to nurture the success and sustainable growth of society. Empirical findings have shown that the way in which novelties are discovered follows similar patterns in a variety of different contexts including science, arts, and technology. The study, published in Physical Review Letters, introduces a new mathematical framework that correctly reproduces the rate at which novelties emerge in real systems, known as Heaps’ law, and can explain why discoveries are strongly correlated, i.e. they often come in clusters. It does this by translating the theory of the ‘adjacent possible’, initially formulated by Stuart Kauffman in the context of biological systems, into the language of complex networks.
More information can be found here and in the paper Network dynamics of innovation processes
Iacopo Iacopini, Stasa Milojevic and Vito Latora. Physical Review Letters 120, 048301 (2018)