People are only secretive about advancements to the extent that the value of keeping it a secret is greater than the cost of keeping it a secret. It's also worth remembering that the people who might draw upon your advancement aren't even necessarily competitors. Most advancements aren't worth trying to actively protect, and many advancements are impractical to try and protect while making money.
As for inventive human beings, I would say it's quite the contrary more often, because they are driven by the puzzle, not the prize. External incentives are actually pretty bad at fostering innovative thought. They provide tunnel vision, which is great for getting someone to rotate a lug over and over all day, but bad for getting someone to engage in anything requiring lateral thinking.