Numerous books have been written about how businesses innovate, but most rely on case studies. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently took a more data-driven look. It analyzed patents for employees at three large tech companies in varied fields: Tesla (top) in electric vehicles, Facebook (bottom) in social networks and Intrexon (middle) in genetic engineering. How employees team up to invent patented technologies reveals different patterns of collaboration, says senior economist Amanda Myers at the patent office. Given how well each of these companies is doing, it seems that there is more than one way to create success.

 
Credit: PERISCOPIC; Sources: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and www.patentsview.org