Digital innovation ecosystem: Profiting from technology in the era of twin transition


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The concept of Innovation Ecosystem (IE) has become popular during the last 15 years, leading to a debate regarding its relevance for established big corporations as well as Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that initiate synergistic partnerships with other actors to remain competitive in the market. An IE is  defined as “the evolving set of actors, activities, artifacts, and relations, including complementary and substitute relations, that are important for the innovative performance of an actor or a population of actors” (Granstrand & Holgersson, 2020). Within an innovation ecosystem, customers, suppliers, big corporations, start-ups and complementary innovators are  interdependent actors (Corvello et al., 2023; Zahra and Nambisan, 2012) that promotes systemic innovation (Paasi et al., 2023) for joint value production (Ritala et al., 2013).  

Value creation and the engagement in collaborative endeavours, offers an opportunity to assimilate external knowledge, capabilities and expertise (Primario et al., 2024) through Open Innovation (OI) strategies (Zhang et al., 2021). Over time, several programs have been created, including accelerators, incubators, contamination Labs, innovation hubs, and the venture capital model (Giglio et al., 2023; Rippa & Secundo, 2019; Secundo et al., 2020, 2021) to open the boundaries of corporations to external stakeholders to face also the sustainability goals. These strategies are constantly developing, leading to the emergence of new forms of (sustainable) innovation ecosystems (Avila-Robinson et al., 2022; Primario et al., 2024). 

However in the era of digitalization, co-creation and collaboration within an Innovation ecosystem requires data and information exchange (Primario et al., 2024) through emerging and disruptive digital technologies (Nambisan, 2017). Over the course of the last ten years, digital technologies have evolved rapidly and significantly altered company borders, practices, organizational structures, roles, and interactions (Cennamo et al., 2020). Digital technologies, such as cloud computing, digital platforms, blockchain, virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI) and generative AI, radically change the organization's strategy, business processes and governance structures in ways that go beyond simple IT installations. The proliferation of digital technologies has led to the emergence of Digital Innovation Ecosystems (Wolfert et al., 2023) wherein value generation is closely connected to the distribution of value across different players in the network supported by digital technologies ecosystem (Sun et al., 2022).  

The creation of digital innovation ecosystems is influenced by digital technologies themselves and by the communities of creators and users, including suppliers, distributors, outsourcing businesses, makers of related products, and other stakeholders (Wolfert et al., 2023). Moreover Digital Innovation Ecosystem became more fundamental as recently the European Union (EU) has emphasized the importance of implementing new strategies for companies to accomplish the green and digital transition; scientists call this new paradigm "twin transition," "twin digital," "green transition," "Circular I4.0," or "Digital Circular Economy" (Rosa et al., 2020).   Accelerating the digital and green transitions is a European policy priority coherent with the UNCTAD 2030 Agenda, to promotes sustainable and prosperous economic growth while accomplishing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (Unece, 2021). 

Although there is a growing interest in the topic, a lack of clear distinction between digital ecosystems, innovation ecosystems, digital innovation ecosystems, hub ecosystems, open innovation ecosystems, platform-based ecosystems, knowledge ecosystems, and their variations still remain unexplored (Gupta et al., 2019). The special issue aims to clarify the role of digital technologies within Innovation ecosystem expanding the literature on IEs, and contributing to the most recent literature on Digital Innovation Ecosystems in the era of Twin Transition.  

The Special Issue goal’s is to gather interdisciplinary contributions that examine the influence of digital technologies on the strategy, process and dynamics evolution of the Innovation Ecosystems. The Guest Editors welcome exceptional, original contributions that tackle, but are not restricted to, the following research questions: 

List of Topic Areas

  • How can Digital Innovation ecosystems effectively pursue Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? 
  • How can Digital technologies support the automated decision making in Innovation Ecosystems facing the twin transition?  
  • In which way Artificial intelligence could sustain the Innovation Ecosystems growth as well as startups performances while facing the twin transition?  
  • Which platform model could characterize the Innovation ecosystem pursuing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? 
  • How Digital technologies can enable Knowledge sharing and protection for the twin transition within Innovation ecosystem?  
  • How do digital platforms help stakeholders work together and create knowledge in innovation ecosystems? 
  • What are the dynamics of collaboration and competition between actors in innovation ecosystems and how do digital technologies affect the green transition? 
  • How do digital startups affect the overall competitiveness of the Innovation ecosystem? 
  • What are the governance models that enhance cooperation and innovation among the actors belonging to digital innovation ecosystems? 
  • How digital technologies could enhance the collaboration among the stakeholders of the University ecosystem? 
  • In which way digital technologies and artificial intelligence support the dynamics of evolution of the University Ecosystems? 
  • Which strategic processes sustain the twin transition within the University Ecosystems? 

Submissions Information

Submissions are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts. Registration and access are available here.
Author guidelines must be strictly followed. Please see here.
Authors should select (from the drop-down menu) the special issue title at the appropriate step in the submission process, i.e. in response to ““Please select the issue you are submitting to”. 
Submitted articles must not have been previously published, nor should they be under consideration for publication anywhere else, while under review for this journal.

Key Deadlines

Submissions Open: 31th July 2024
Submissions Close: 30th November 2024


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