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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.


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.

Session tracks

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 above, there will also be three 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. 

Best paper awards

Every year, CINet selects two award-winning papers: the John Bessant Best Paper Award and the Mariano Corso Best Practical Implications Award, the paper must meet the following criteria.

Special issues

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).

Paper development workshop

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.

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PhD Workshop

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

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Young Academics Workshop

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

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