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This paper outlines a framework for the study of innovation that treats discoveries as additions to evolving networks. As inventions enter they expand or limit the reach of the ideas they build on by influencing how successive discoveries use those ideas. The approach is grounded in novel measures of the extent to which an innovation amplifies or disrupts the status quo. Those measures index the effects inventions have on subsequent uses of prior discoveries. In so doing, they characterize aarXiv:1212.3559v1 fatcat:xo4724iomrgwrgstf2lz7ncyii