21st International CINet Conference

Practising Continuous Innovation in Digital Ecosystems

20-22 September 2020, Milan, Italy

The 21st CINet conference, Milan 20-22 September 2020 is on!
To date, we have received more than 80 abstracts for the forthcoming 21st CINet conference, Milan 20-22 September 2020, which is a good number in view of the circumstances. This means that the conference and also the PhD workshop (18-19 September) and the CIYA workshop (20 September) will take place. We are still working on the assumption that we can meet physically. However, nobody can predict what the forthcoming weeks and months will bring. The academic world has moved to teaching and working together using digital technologies in an amazingly short time. Embarking on that experience, we are also developing a plan B, which involves going virtual and delivering the conference online. We expect to make the final decision on the format of the conference and adjacent activities in the course of July, well before the participants have to book their trips and accommodation.

Deadline extension
We understand that there are colleagues who have not been able to develop and submit their abstract(s) on time and have therefore decided to extend the deadline for submission to 24 April 2020.

  • Call for Papers
  • Org. Committee
  • Keynotes
  • Program
  • Submit
  • Key dates
  • Register
  • Practical information

Call for Papers

The Continuous Innovation Network (CINet) is a global network set up to bring together researchers and practitioners working in the field of Continuous Innovation and related areas of research and practice. The mission of CINet is to progressively become a school of thought on Continuous Innovation. Consistent with this mission, CINet organizes an annual conference. This announcement concerns the 21st CINet conference, which will take place in Milan (Italy), hosted by the School of Management of Politecnico di Milano on 20-22 September 2020.

Theme and session tracks

The theme of the conference is Practicing Continuous Innovation in Digital Ecosystems.

Nearly 20 years ago, industry started engaging with the open innovation paradigm as a new mindset to foster innovation and think about leveraging the opportunities offered outside the company boundaries.

Today, the shift from a mostly close to a much more open mindset is almost done, but new opportunities and challenges are still arising. Digital technologies, in particular, have created, and continue to do so, numerous new opportunities for companies to engage in open, ecosystem-based innovation. On the one hand, the chance to closely collaborate with external resources, companies or individuals, even if they are located far away, enables new value creation mechanisms. On the other hand, the digital trace made of data generated through the use of digital technologies represents a new asset to be exploited.

Supported by technological development together with the increasing recognition of the potential offered by open innovation, the innovation landscape is increasingly becoming a complex network of relationships, where value is created, captured, exchanged and shared through continuously dynamic mechanisms, giving birth to digital ecosystems. The possibilities offered by digital ecosystems open up for several new opportunities as well as challenges both for research and practice.

These opportunities and challenges form the basis of the 21th International CINet Conference.

The central topics of the conference are: 

  • How to effectively practice continuous innovation in digital ecosystems?
  • What are the challenges and the effects of digital ecosystems for traditional industries?
  • How can digital ecosystems foster the creation of new fields of innovation?
  • How can companies manage the complexity derived from ecosystems?
  • What are the implications of these relationships from an organizational perspective?
  • What are the implications in terms of business modeling?
  • Are ecosystems enabling disruption?
  • What are the practices to effectively manage innovation in ecosystems?
  • Are ecosystems enabling new strategies to react to external business challenges?
  • What is the role of universities in the digital ecosystems?
  • How can companies rely on digital data created within ecosystems?
  • How can emerging technologies, like blockchain, enable new dynamics in digital ecosystems?

In addition, papers addressing a broader set of themes within continuous innovation are welcome. These themes include:

  • Performance management and management control in innovation and innovation networks.
  • Design thinking and continuous innovation.
  • Continuous innovation strategies, practices and performance.
  • Continuous innovation in products, services and operations.
  • Knowledge, learning, and continuous innovation.
  • Organizing for continuous and/or discontinuous innovation.
  • Ambidexterity and tensions in innovation processes.
  • Innovation with external partners.
  • Management of ideas and creativity.
  • Continuous innovation in public settings.

Special tracks

Besides the theme and tracks mentioned below, there will also be 2 special tracks that you can submit your paper for (please indicate when submitting the abstract that you would like your abstract to be considered for the special track:

The format

Since 2015, CINet accepts:

  • “Full papers” of up to 5,000 words – to report research that has been completed.
  • “Research notes” of up to 2,000 words – to propose a research idea, seek research collaboration, present a literature review, describe a research design, or report work-in-progress.
  • Practitioner presentations – primarily focused on sharing and discussing (continuous) innovation practice and experience.

Ever more journals only accept conference-based articles if they are substantially different and/or a substantial extension from the conference paper they are based on. By accepting shorter full papers, we facilitate the development of your work into journal articles. Furthermore, CINet wants to be a place where not only completed research but also ideas for research or collaboration and different stages of work-in-progress are presented and discussed. The “research notes” support the latter purpose. 
Reflecting these principles, CINet still strongly encourages the submission of full papers for presentation in traditional presentation/Q&A sessions, but also accepts shorter research notes for discussion of ideas and work-in-progress in more open (e.g. poster and group discussion) sessions, as well as practitioner presentations.

20th PhD Workshop

The CINet PhD workshop offers PhD students a unique possibility to present and discuss, receive feedback, and exchange comments and views on their research in an inspiring academic community of fellow PhD students and experienced researchers active in the CINet community.

The PhD workshop will be held on Friday 18 and Saturday 19 September 2020, just before the conference, and ends at the afternoon of the last conference day, while there are also meetings during the conference.

The seminar is equivalent to a workload of 3 ECTS.

More information can be found on the workshop website.

11th CIYA Workshop

Targeted at young academics working in the field of continuous innovation, the CIYA Workshop will be take place on Sunday 20 September 2020 (afternoon).

PhD lunch meeting - meet the editors

Are you a PhD student? Meet the editors of the Creativity and Innovation Management Journal during the lunch of Monday 21 September 2020 and learn how to publish in CIM and how to be a good reviewer.

Special issues and paper development workshop

The best papers presented at the conference will be considered for publication in special issues of Creativity and Innovation Management (CIM) and the International Journal of Technology Management (IJTM).

While most papers presented at the conference are not ready for publication, many provide a good starting point but require additional work before they are publishable. So, true to its nature, CINet selects a number of papers for possible development into a special issue paper, based on their potential and, then, organize one or more paper development workshops, in the form of a Skype event. In these workshops, which will take place late October or early November 2020, the special issue editors will work together with experienced reviewers, to help the invited authors to develop their paper to publishable standard.

Best Paper Awards

Every year, CINet selects two award-winning papers.

The main criteria for winning the John Bessant Best Paper Award are:

  • Theoretical relevance - is the research problem real and "hot" from a theoretical perspective?
  • Research design - scientific rigor in terms of hypotheses/questions, operationalization, sampling, data sources, analysis, validity/reliability
  • Discussion and contribution to theory - does the paper solve the theoretical problem researched in the paper?

In order to be considered for the Mariano Corso Best Practical Implications Award, the paper must meet the following criteria:

  • Practical relevance - is the research problem real and "hot" from a practical perspective?
  • Research design - scientific rigor in terms of hypotheses/questions, operationalization, sampling, data sources, analysis, validity/reliability
  • Discussion and contribution to practice - potential contribution to solving a practical problem, and to practitioner understanding - is the paper clear for practitioners and does it provide models and criteria that help them in understanding the phenomenon, go to the root causes of potential problems arising, and identify possible approaches to solve them?

Organizing committee

coughlanLuca Gastaldi
Associate Professor
Politecnico di Milano

hargadenMariano Corso
Full Professor
Politecnico di Milano

hargadenDaniel Trabucchi
Politecnico di Milano

hargadenStefano Magistretti
Politecnico di Milano

hargadenRosella Onofrio
Politecnico di Milano


Advisory Board

Harry Boer, Aalborg University, Denmark
Katharina Hölzle, University of Potsdam, Germany
René Chester Goduscheit, Aarhus University, Denmark
Nicolette Lakemond, Linköping University, Sweden
Mats Magnusson, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden
Paolo Neirotti, Politecnico di Torino, Italy
Luisa Pellegrini, University of Pisa, Italy
Magnus Persson, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden
Melanie Wiener, Johannes Kepler University, Linz, Austria
Patricia Wolf, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark

Conference secretariat

Jeannette Visser-Groeneveld, University of Twente, Netherlands

Keynote speakers

To be announced soon.

Program outline

Friday 18 September 2020
09:00 - 17:00 | PhD workshop

Saturday 19 September 2020
09:00 - 17:00 | PhD workshop

Sunday 20 September 2020
13:30 - 17:00 | CIYA Workshop
18:00 - 20:00 | Welcome reception

Monday 21 September 2020
09:00 - 17:30 | Conference program
19:00 - 22:00 | Conference dinner

Tuesday 22 September 2020
09:00 - 16:30 | Conference program
17:00 - 19:00 | Company visit


Abstract submission date: 24 April 2020
Full papers submission date: 20 July 2020

1st round: Abstracts

Researchers wishing to contribute to the conference are invited to submit a structured abstract for either a regular paper or a research note (in Word format) of 750-1000 words (references not included) by April 24, 2020. The abstract should address:

  • Theoretical and empirical background and relevance.
  • Research objectives, problem and/or hypotheses.
  • Research design.
  • Analysis and discussion.
  • Expected contribution.

The extended abstract has to fit the overall theme and/or topics suggested for the conference. A high-quality abstract might be rejected if it is outside the scope and the theme of the conference.

CINet members can also submit a full paper or completed research note for review at this stage. Members requesting such a review must also submit by April 24, 2020.

Please check and carefully follow the author guidelines and use the right template (below).

All submissions will undergo a double blind peer review. The outcome of the review will be sent to the authors by May 15, 2020.

You can now submit through the online submission portal by clicking the button below.


2nd round: Full papers and full research notes

The deadline for submitting full papers and full research notes is July 20. Note that the review committee will go through all submissions. Please check and carefully follow the author guidelines and use the right template (below). Papers and research notes that do not meet the format requirements will be returned to the author(s).

All final submissions need to be done by email to the conference secretariat. Note that the abstract in your paper/note will be published in the CINet Conference Book of Abstracts. The full papers/research notes will be made available for downloading from the conference website nearer the conference.


Practitioners wishing to contribute to the conference are invited to submit an abstract (in Word format) of approximately 500 words no later than April 24, 2020. The abstract should address:

  • Industry background.
  • Presentation objectives.
  • Problems addressed.
  • Results in terms of contribution to the practice of (continuous) innovation management.

If your abstract is accepted you will be asked to submit a PowerPoint presentation, not a full paper, before September 1. Please also submit a brief summary of your presentation for inclusion in the CINet Conference Book of Abstracts.

Author guidelines

Read and follow the author guidelines carefully:

Use the following templates in preparing your abstract, full paper or research note. They have been designed to help you develop your abstract, facilitate the review process and, eventually, facilitate the production of the proceedings with all contributions looking as consistent as possible:

Make sure that the manuscript meets all the requirements, including layout specifications. Note that papers that are not in line with the length and layout requested will not be accepted!

Important notes
  • Due to the different holiday periods in Europe we cannot give extensions of the deadlines mentioned above.
  • At least one author of a submission needs to register not later than August 15, otherwise the full paper, research note or presentation will not be included in the proceedings nor included in the programme.
  • Abstracts should be submitted online. Full papers, research notes and practitioner presentations should be submitted to the conference secretariat by email.

Key dates


24-04-2020 Abstracts submission
Full papers/full research notes submission (for CINet members only and only by special request)
Practitioners abstracts submission

15-05-2020 Notification of acceptance or rejection

20-07-2020 Full paper/research note submission

15-08-2020 Registration for at least one author per submission. Papers for which not at least one author has registered will not be included in the conference proceedings, book of abstracts and program

PhD Workshop

15-08-2020 Application

20-08-2020 Notification of acceptance or rejection

15-09-2020 Submission of short paper (see the workshop website for detailed instructions)

CIYA Workshop

10-09-2020 Application

15-09-2020 Notification of acceptance or rejection



PhD student CINet member € 395*  
PhD student non CINet member € 495
Other CINet member € 495*
Ohter non CINet member € 645

The fee includes the conference proceedings, and the conference dinner, lunches and refreshments. Please carefully read the terms and conditions when registering.

Please note that authors need to register before August 15 in order to have their paper included in the program and the proceedings.

* To be able to benefit from this reduced fee for members you have to register as CINet member before April 1.




About Milan, the hosting city

Home of Italy’s stock exchange, an industrial powerhouse and the internationally accepted arbiter of taste in fashion and design, Milan is known as a leading city in the world economy and a center of international trade and finance.
Milan is the most cosmopolitan and outward looking of Italian cities, at times it can seem brash and soulless but beneath the veneer is a serious sense of history and place.

A compact historic center easily explored on foot through cobbled streets lined with boutiques, historic churches, some of the world’s finest museums and gardens. The grand Gothic cathedral, the Duomo, lies at the geographical heart of this one-time Imperial Roman capital, and expresses the love of beauty and power that still drives the city today.

Art collections old and new, unparalleled shopping, one of Europe’s biggest trade-fair complexes, sparkling nightlife, the prestige of opera at La Scala, the mark of Leonardo da Vinci’s genius, a religious addiction to calcio (football), and endless opportunities to eat the best of Lombard and Italian food make Milan much more than the puritanically work-obsessed city it is often portrayed as.

Creativity is the engine which powers Milan: the world capital of Fashion and Design. Most of the major Italian fashion houses and labels are based in Milan. They include: Armani, Bottega Veneta, Canali, Costume National, Dolce & Gabbana, Dsquared2, Etro, Iceberg, Les Copains, Marni, Missoni, Miu Miu, Moncler, Frankie Morello, Moschino, MSGM, N°21, Prada, Fausto Puglisi, Tod’s, Trussardi, Valentino, Versace, Giuseppe Zanotti, Zagliani, Ermenegildo Zegna, and the eyewear company Luxottica.

Constant evolving skyline: an architectural Renaissance is underway involving the likes of Foster, Isozaki, Piano, Fuksas and Libeskind. Milan has been confirmed as global ALPHA city together with other cities such as Sydney, Chicago, Toronto and Los Angeles. 

Milano hosts almost 300,000 companies, half of them operating in the value added services, with a total turnaround of € 471 bn/yr. More than 3,000 are the multinational companies, which employee almost 300,000 people. Milan is one of the best-connected international cities in the world with over 3,400 weekly direct flights to 170 global destinations.

Milan has an excellent hospitality system. The hospitality and accommodation sector has undergone a radical transformation thanks to the effect of Expo2015, with 200 new or renewed hotels that welcome visitors from all over the world. Milan is considered a safe city: recent statistics show that Milan is one of the safest European cities.


Conference venue

The conference and all other academic parts of it will take place at Bovisa Campus of Politecnico di Milano.

Conference dinner

The conference dinner will take place in Spazio Polene, within the National Museum of Science and Technology dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci.

More information on the different venues will be added soon.


Suggested hotels



Distance from Bovisa - Politecnico


Hotel Palazzo delle Stelline

20 min by car / 16 min by public transport


Hotel Bernina

20 min by car / 20 min by public transport


Tocq Hotel

13 min by car / 13 min by public transport


NH Milano Touring

20 min by car / 15 min by public transport


Hotel Nh Milano Macchiavelli

20 min by car / 20 min by public transport


Double Tree By Hilton

12 min by car / 25 min by public transport


Milan Suite Hotel

11 min by car / 24 min by public transport


Radisson Blu

10 min by car / 20 min by public transport


How to get to the conference venue

This section will be updated nearer the event.





SIMA logo


20th CINet PhD Workshop

PhD students attending the conference can attend the 20th CINet PhD Workshop for free.


11th CIYA Workshop

CIYA will organize their 11th young scolars workshop on the Sunday afternoon preceding the conference.




© Continuous Innovation Network | May 14, 2020