Description of tracks

1. General Submissions

2. Digital platforms and digital technologies: challenges and opportunities for innovation scholars and practitioners

Proponents: Tommaso Buganza; Laurent Muzellec; Ellen Enkel; Daniel Trabucchi; Andrea Urbinati 

The high proliferation of disruptive digital technologies has enabled new emerging companies to challenge the status quo of established markets, relying on “uncumberent” development, unconstrained growth and an undisciplined strategy, which allow better performance, less costs and greater customization. Among the best-known examples, we find companies as Uber, Airbnb or Coursera, which although do not own the assets they rely on to create and offer value to the market, play the role of matchmakers between different groups of users and multiple markets. In particular, Two-Sided Markets enabled by digital technologies and digital platforms are making the disruptive process faster and more pervasive. From an academic perspective, this topic seems to be always relevant and promising; since scholars continue to deepen the contextual dynamics that influence this market structure. Accordingly, the present track aims to shed light on these topics, considering theoretical and empirical studies that may enlarge and stimulate the growing debate on digital platforms and disruptive digital technologies unveiling new challenges and new opportunities for innovation scholars and practitioners.

3. Environmental sustainability, social impact and innovation

Proponent: Marika Arena; Paolo Landoni; Giuseppe Scellato

Today companies have to deal with growing pressures and emerging opportunities that derive from the sustainability’s agenda. Sustainability is commonly recognized to be an important driver of business change, serving as a possible leverage of cost reduction, thanks to enhanced operational efficiency, enlargement of the market share in existing markets as well as opening of new markets, and improvement of a company’s reputation. The bundle of growing pressures and opportunities driven by the sustainability’s agenda makes the interplay between environmental sustainability, social impact and innovation particularly interesting for both researchers and practitioners. In line with this consideration, the track will call for both conceptual and empirical papers that deal, but are not restricted to, the following questions:• What factors stimulate innovation in connection to environmental sustainability and social impact?• How innovation can be achieved in this field? What is the role of different modes of innovation? What is the role of different innovation paradigms? • To what extent (and how) sustainability management processes and innovation management processes (may) integrate? What are potential role of CSR activities and sustainability management tools and instruments (such as stakeholder analysis, sustainability planning, measurement and reporting instruments) in connection to innovation management?

4. Finance for innovation: new tools and approaches

Proponents: Vincenzo Butticè; Giancarlo Giudici; Massimiliano Guerini

Over the past decade, digital and technological innovation have greatly affected the financial services industry, changing the way innovative firms access debt and equity funding. New forms of disintermediated sources of finance, such as crowdfunding, peer-to-peer business lending, or distributer ledger technologies (e.g. Blockchain, ICO) occur every month and are growing fast. However, academic knowledge on the topic is still limited compared to its outreach.  The track aims at collecting and discussing original papers that shed light on how these new tools and approaches to finance help innovative companies to overcome the funding gap and affect traditional lending and equity markets. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:• How are new tools and approaches to finance transforming innovative companies financing?• What is the specific contribution of these new tools and approaches to finance to support innovation activity?• What is the role of the new tools and approaches to finance in the entrepreneurial finance ecosystem? What kind of ecosystem is required to make new tools and approaches to finance flourish?• How do traditional sources of finance interact with new tools and approaches of financing?• Who are the players using these new tools and approaches to finance? Which are their motivations? • How banks and funds are affected by the disruptive innovation of fintech?

5. Implementing open innovation: from theory to practice

Proponents: Henry Chesbrough; Chiara Eleonora De Marco; Alberto Di Minin; Valentina Lazzarotti; Raffaella Manzini; Luisa Pellegrini; Michele Grimaldi; Marian Garcia; Josè Antonio Alfaro Tanco

This track focuses on the implementation of Open Innovation (OI), with emphasis on the challenges concealed behind the benefits of opening up the innovation processes. Proposals should position their work with respect to previous literature that has identified the challenges embedded in this shift from approaching to implementing the OI, during which challenges can arise both within the organizational boundaries and beyond them. Previous studies highlighted that the shift from the adoption of OI approaches to the implementation of open strategies involves organizational, managerial and technological (ICT) choices, as well as cultural changes within the organization, to secure the proper governance of and commitment to the practices of OI. Moreover, organizations need to adopt business model innovation to find the right balance between their being open and protecting their internal assets, and manage their external relationships to avoid the risk of over-searching when exploring external opportunities and/or of over-committing towards their own internal capacities. This thematic track welcomes qualitative and quantitative studies disentangling the implementation of OISs along the dimensions recalled, going beyond the advantages embedded in the OI paradigm and shedding light on the risks that can jeopardize the successful outcome of opening up the innovation processes.

6. Innovation and R&D management in family firms

Proponents: Jasper Brinkerink; Joshua J. Daspit; Alfredo De Massis; Alessandro Minichilli

Over the past decade, the literature on family firm innovation has grown substantially, and has documented various seemingly systematic differences between the technological innovation processes of family and nonfamily firms. Further knowledge development in this domain is however important, as effective strategic and technological renewal is a principal determinant of the firm-survival prospects that underlie many of the owning family’s long-term (non)economic goals. We invite submissions that review or analyse issues pertaining to innovation management in family businesses, such as – but not exclusively – R&D (portfolio) management, absorptive capacity, new product development, collaborative innovation, and ambidextrous innovation strategies. Papers may investigate how heterogeneity in family goals, values, or other family-related dynamics affects innovation decisions, processes, and outcomes among family firms, or how these issues differ between family and nonfamily firms. We welcome submissions of both conceptual and empirical nature, and are open to studies employing a diversity of theoretical and methodological approaches.

7. Innovation dynamics and organizational performance: novel strategies and approaches

Proponents: Antonio Messeni Petruzzelli; Francesco Paolo Appio; Pierpaolo Andriani

In a world of increased complexity and dynamism, innovation more and more originates from search strategies and processes where knowledge is constantly added, deleted, transformed, recombined or simply reinterpreted in multiple ways. The literature often focused on the ‘where’ to search in the opportunity landscape, being it real or virtual, as well as in which time period. A second relevant perspective focuses instead on the ‘how’ to search: topics such as ‘luck vs. foresight’ and ‘emergent vs. deliberate strategies’ have long been of scholarly and managerial interest. For instance, exaptation plays an important role in search processes; the use of analogical thinking to identify distant opportunities; the role of serendipity and contextual factors in search processes; the order between problem formulation and solutions in problem-solving; the adoption of open innovation practices to push the boundaries of the organizations further out making them more permeable to knowledge inflows and outflows. The main purpose of the track is to solicit contributions from researchers with diverse backgrounds and engage them in an interdisciplinary discussion on the theoretical and empirical implications of studying search strategies and their implications on innovative performance.

8. Managing at the intersection between innovation and supply chain management

Proponents: Margherita Pero and Nizar Abdelkafi

In the last decades, many scientific contributions have been focusing on Innovation and New Product Development (NPD), and Supply Chain Management (SCM). Research streams on Innovation and New Product Development, and Supply Chain Management have seldom been considered together. Only recently, researchers have started to devote attention to the issue of how to manage the complex decisions at the intersection between SCM and innovation. For instance, NPD-related scientific literature recommends looking ahead at what problems may occur later during supply, manufacturing and assembly to reduce delays in production and to avoid over costs. SCM literature provides guidelines to design and manage supply chains, given a specific product design. However, there are still various research topics to be investigated more intensively, among the others for instance the alignment of product features and supply chain design, the integration of NPD and SCM processes, the role of supply chain innovation to foster business model innovation. The topic is also extremely relevant in those industries where products are engineered to order, i.e. those industries where design activities have to be performed with SCM activities after customer order’s arrival, such as construction and tooling machines.

9. R&D management and international business

Proponents: Elia Stefano; Massini Silvia; Santangelo Grazia

R&D and innovation are one of the main engine of international business. Additionally, knowledge management is one of the central topics of the theories of Multinational Enterprises (MNEs). This track focuses on the international strategies to source, transfer and manage R&D and innovation across border and on the role of R&D and innovation in fostering international business. It takes into account both internal aspect of international R&D management, such as the generation of knowledge in foreign countries and the transfer of knowledge between headquarters and subsidiaries and among subsidiaries, and on external aspects of international R&D management, such as knowledge sourcing and external relations with partners through equity and non-equity agreements. The track is also interested in the effects of internal and external cross-border R&D strategies on the firms’ competitiveness and performance.  Special attention will be devoted to the disruptive role of new information and communication technologies, ICT and open innovation in shaping internal and external R&D international management. Finally, the track will also examine the geography of innovation, by focusing on how institutions, national and regional innovation systems affect the design of cross-border R&D strategies.

10. Resilience & innovation

Proponents: Petra C. de Weerd-Nederhof and Marjolein Caniels

This session focuses on the characteristics of innovative organizational forms and fostering resilient behavior for sustainable innovation: to better understand how organizations need to be (re)designed, collaborate, managed and led, and by whom, to exploit innovative opportunities that foster long-term social, economic and environmental impact and to proactively deal with dynamics (including adversities) in organizational context and external environment. Resilience refers to the capacity of individuals, organizations, communities, cities and societies to withstand, adapt, and recover (bounce back) from sudden incidental shocks or/and gradual structural challenges, as well as the extent to which a system is capable to learn, develop and self-organize when facing perturbations. This session aims to bring together insights on how resilience influences various aspects of the innovative organization and how organizational forms can be made more resilient related to sustainable innovation performance, on the individual, team and network level. Some examples:- individual knowledge workers’ resilience may positively influence both their creativity, proactiveness, entrepreneurial behavior and their performance under pressure- resilient leaders organize for growth and sustainable innovation and support their employees by putting responsibility as low as possible in the organization – innovative resilient behavior improves innovation team’s chances of successful project results.

11. Re-thinking design thinking: emerging challenges and future evolutions

Proponents: Mattia Bianchi; Giulia Calabretta; Claudio Dell’Era; Maaike Kleinsmann; Stefano Magistretti; Roberto Verganti

Scholars and practitioners are acknowledging the central role that design can play in innovation. The emergence of new paradigms such as human-centered design, co-design and especially design thinking, highlight the transforming role that design can play in the field of innovation.Especially design thinking represents a formal approach for practical, creative resolution of problems and creation of solutions, with the intent of a continuously improving results. The relevance of this approach is becoming evident in both practitioner and academic fields. On the practitioner side, Accenture, Deloitte, IBM, KPMG, McKinsey and PricewaterhouseCoopers rank among the most forceful players in acquiring design agencies to renew their offering and refresh their approach. Contemporary design thinking is booming in those industries where the digital transformation requires new competences and capabilities for developing delightful digital experiences.The thematic track “Re-thinking Design Thinking: emerging challenges and future evolutions” will investigate the evolution of this paradigm in facing contemporary challenges:- Design Thinking and Open Innovation- Design Thinking and Agile Development- Design Thinking and Digital Innovation- Design Thinking and Organizational Transformation- Design Thinking and Social Innovation.

12. Team, leadership & organization for creativity and innovation

Proponents: Raffaella Cagliano; Filomena Canterino; Abraham Shani; Joseph Santora

Innovation field is showing growing interest in how innovation can be fostered by acting on organizational aspects such effective teams, leadership dynamics and practices that foster collaboration on creative outputs and, in the end, on innovativeness of a company. Literature show some evidences of the fact that organizational mechanisms and structure can positively affect the innovation process and the innovation output. However, emergent trends – such for example the collectivistic and employee-driven approach to innovation and the emergence of shared leadership paradigm within today organizations – call for the need of shed better light on the topic.  In particular, the track would welcome contributions that inquiry the following areas• Organizing for innovation• Leadership for innovation process and output• Effective teams for innovation• Shared leadership and innovation• Organizing for emergent collective approaches to innovation inside organizations• Collective creativity to foster innovation.

13. Open innovation intermediaries: tools, platforms and communities

Proponents: Nadine Roijakkers; Ward Ooms; Andy Zynga

To facilitate inbound open innovation (OI), various types of intermediary organizations offer their services to firms, and “act as agent or broker in any aspect of the innovation process between two or more parties”. The services intermediaries offer and manage are tools, platforms, and communities, all intended to help firms to innovate. Although intermediaries’ tools and platforms are available, some firms choose to manage their own online communities for user innovation and for external knowledge sourcing in general. Likely, these firms have become OI mature, and therefore firms generally seek less help from intermediaries. Several open avenues for research surround the theme of OI intermediaries as well as their platforms and tools. In this thematic track, we invite papers investigating the following as well as other open issues related to the phenomenon of OI intermediaries:- Enablers and barriers to intermediary-client relationships- Differences between commercial OI intermediaries and public OI intermediaries- Tools and platforms for external knowledge sourcing (with or without help from intermediaries) used in OI mature and immature firms- Comparative studies of OI effects of use of tools and platforms (crowdsourcing, online communities, social media, etc.) with and without intermediary involvement.

14. Circular economy put into practice: opportunities and challenges for innovative industrial paradigms

Proponents: Davide Chiaroni; Peter Hopkinson; David Peck

Circular Economy has undoubtedly become one of the hot topics in public debates about new and more sustainable industrial paradigms. Indeed, it is based on the establishment of closed production systems, where resources are reused and kept in a loop of production and usage, allowing generating for the whole economic system more value and for a longer period.
Circular claims for firms willing to embrace this new approach to innovate at different levels: (i) product/process innovation, e.g. through adopting new design practices for improving circularity of products and/or reduce the consumption of resources;(ii) organizational innovation, e.g. through changing the way firms manage external networks for ensuring the closure of the loop; (iii) business model innovation, e.g. through the adoption of pay-per-use or other forms of users’ engagement to keep the ownership of the products along the entire loop.
Despite the interest for Circular Economy by politicians and practitioners, we posit there is still a lack of valuable contributions on this topic from scholars in the strategic and innovation management field. Case studies and empirical contributions are especially welcomed to shed light on the innovations undertaken by companies to put in practice Circular Economy.

15. Digitally-enabled business model innovation

Proponents: Antonio Ghezzi; Raffaello Balocco; Marcelo N. Cortimiglia; Alejandro G. Frank

Business Model Innovation (BMI) refers to the process of innovating a company’s architecture of value, that is, how an incumbent or startup generates value for its customers, delivers such value to them, and captures a share of the value generates to guarantee is economic and financial viability.Business Model Innovation (BMI) refers to the process of innovating a company’s architecture of value, that is, how an incumbent or startup generates value for its customers, delivers such value to them, and captures a share of the value generates to guarantee is economic and financial viability.As innovating business models – rather than products, services and processes – becomes core for a company’s Strategy, academics and practitioners wonder how BMI theories and practices may be crossed with another paramount phenomenon with multifaceted impacts in more and more industries: Digital Innovation.This track welcomes studies, both conceptual and empirical, and based on different methodologies – e.g. qualitative, quantitative, mixed-methods – tackling the issue of how Digital Innovation can enable (or hinder) BMI.We label such process “Digitally-enabled Business Model Innovation”.Studies submitted to this track are encouraged to tackle one or more of the following research questions:• What is the role of digital innovation as an enabler (or barrier) for BMI?• What are the different impacts of digital technologies on an incumbent’s or a startup’s value generation, delivery and capture processes?• What are the antecedents, moderators, mediators and outcomes of Digitally-enabled BMI?• What is the relationship between a company’s Digitally-enabled Business Model and its overarching Digital Strategy?

16. Innovation in public utility services: opening the “black boxes”

Proponents: Emanuele Lettieri; Cristina Masella; Fabio Pammolli; Tommaso Agasisti; Graeme Currie; Giovanni Radaelli; Andreas Hellstrom; Leid Zejnilovic; Giuseppe Turchetti; James Barlow 

Public utility services (e.g., health and social care, education, transportation, arts and culture, justice, etc.) are facing a “perfect storm” today in the majority of the most developed Countries. On the one hand, citizens’ needs and expectations have risen significantly as consequence of their increased empowerment and access to relevant information. On the other hand, suppliers and policy-makers are lagging behind as consequence of reduced public funding and professionals’ resistance to change.
In this context, innovation has been claimed as the “silver bullet” that might contribute to the rethinking of how these services are actually organized, managed and delivered. Emerging technologies, large bodies of data available, democratization of production, citizens’ involvement etc. are only some of the opportunities that might help the transition to more effective, efficient and safe public utility services.
However, theories and approaches developed so far typically within other industries have been found to do not be able to address the peculiarities of public utility services, e.g., the role played by laws and regulation, by professionals vs. managers, by knowledge-intensity and need of evidence.
Within this context, this thematic track aims at collecting original theoretical/empirical manuscripts dealing with innovation in public utility services, with the aim to advance what we know about the generation of new ideas, their socialization, implementation and diffusion. Valuable is the discussion about whether and to what extent theories, models and approaches developed in other settings might be translated to public utility services.

17. Leveraging open innovation to improve society

Proponents: Letizia Mortara, Nadine Roijakkers, Riccardo Fini, Joonmo Ahn

Many innovative organisations strive for the achievement of societal goals such as the eradication of diseases, the reduction of carbon emissions, or the achievement of more sustainable products and services (Bornmann, 2013). Hence, organizations need to understand whether their current approaches toward innovation may contribute to achieve these ends, and ultimately to improve society. Some examples (e.g. Living Labs) have pointed to the potential of OI approaches to achieve societal gains. However, these examples have yet to be studied, to explain the dynamics and mechanisms by which societal goals can be reached via OI.
So, how does the social innovation underpinning OI methods (e.g. the changing of the dynamics of how innovation is developed and used) link to and deliver societal impact? How do sociology, economics, and management disciplines and theories, as well as their interactions, help in this regard?

18. Big Data Analytics for R&D management

Proponent: Sungjoo Lee

Big data analytics is the use of advanced analytic techniques (e.g., machine learning) against voluminous and complex data sets that include different types of data (i.e., structured/semi-structured/unstructured, streaming/bath, big/small). This thematic track focuses on the use of big data analytics for R&D management, with emphasis on its opportunities as well as challenges. Recent advances in data analysis and modeling enabled to handle diverse technology and market data that traditional data processing software was unable to hand, which can help a firm better uncover hidden patterns from such data, improve predictions and support decision makings based on it; R&D management is expected to take advantage of these advances. This track welcomes all submissions from those interested in identifying new sources of data for R&D management, applying new approaches to traditional sources of data, such as patents, and addressing the challenges of using big data in R&D management.

19. The future of R&D and innovation: what are the key challenges for R&D Management within the next years?

Proponent: Sven Schimpf  and Andrew James

Societal change and technological developments are continuously influencing innovation systems of companies, sectors and entire societies. The omnipresence of sensors and computing power and new possibilities of artificial intelligence and automation are changing basic industry structures. and also underlying R&D and innovation activities. R&D carried out be external actors, digitization or automation and efficient and accelerated R&D are only a only a selection of relevant trends to be mentioned in the context of industrial R&D and innovation (Schimpf 2016). This session focuses on the analysis of trends and developments, gaining new insights into their future impact on industrial R&D and innovation and enabling to identify future requirements relevant to the discipline of R&D and innovation management.

20. Regional innovation management: perspectives from enterprise, clusters and ecosystems

Proponent: Anton Kriz 

R&D dynamics within regions and place have been studied for decades but still lacks some critical understanding. Competitive advantages of regions, magnet cities, strategic doing and smart specialisation are contemporary notions used to inform regional or place-based performance and outcomes. Some interested in this field take a micro level view with their unit of analysis around the interplay of actors and enterprises. Others look at meso level dynamics with clusters, industries and networks. Another way of trying to understand underlying activities is to investigate a place as a macro-level ecosystem. What we are expecting as these systems and places seek to accelerate growth is more deliberate interventions and an increased form of  regional innovation management (RIM) approach. For more information about RIM see Kriz, Bankins & Molloy (2017), “Readying a region: temporally exploring the development of an Australian regional quadruple Helix” in R&D Management. Audretsch (2015) in Everything in its Place has noted the importance of strategic management of place but has also questioned how prescriptive such recipes can be. Investigating micro-meso-macro challenges and interventions around influencing place outcomes has never been more timely. This session and track welcomes submissions from those interested in micro-meso-macro R&D attempts, both conceptually and empirically, to more fully interpret and understand place.

21. Disruptive innovation and organizational change

Proponent: Sihem Jouini and Thierry Rayna

Whether borne by emerging technologies (nowadays, IoT, 3D printing, Machine Learning, Blockchain) or by other forms of innovation (e.g. business model innovation, service innovation, process innovation), disruption forces companies to reinvent themselves, short of which they may become obsolete and perish.
Such transformations, necessary to leverage disruptive innovation, may be internal (R&D and innovation management, changes in HRM, evolutions in decision-making processes), external (strategy changes, redefinition of supplier management, customer relationship and marketing), but most likely nowadays overall (both internal and external) transformation of the firm (redefinition of supply chains and business models; open innovation strategies; business ecosystems, internationalisation of innovation).Consequently, this special track calls for both theoretical and empirical contributions related to organisational transformations caused by disruptive innovation (whether technological or not). Questions of interest are (in particular, but not limited to):

  1. What are the organisational changes required to leverage emerging technologies such as IoT, 3D printing, Machine Learning, Blockchain, autonomous vehicles, etc.
  2. What are the impacts on decision-making processes, in such contexts where predictions are foiled and ineffective?
  3. How can we assess opportunities arising from disruptive innovations and emerging technologies?
  4. How are existing business networks/ecosystems impacted by disruptive innovations? How do they reorganise and adapt to survive disruptive innovations?
  5. How do firms deal with emerging ecosystems? How do they structure internally to benefit from their participation to ecosystemic R&D projects?
  6. What are the R&D processes for radical innovation management? How to organise and manage development teams for disruptive innovation?
  7. What are the multi-project management settings able to support effective disruptive strategies?
  8. What type of governance is effective for projects aimed at, or reacting to, disruptive innovations?
  9. What organisational changes are necessary to overcome clients’ resistance to, or deviant adoption of, disruptive innovation?
  10. What is the role of customers and users in the development projects addressing disruptive innovations?
  11. In the context of disruptive innovation and changing international innovation processes, such as reverse innovation, what are the organizational tools enabling to better integrate research, development and commercialisation phases?