Innovation for better resilience and antifragility in collaborative networks



Collaborative Networks, CNs, are networks of a variety of entities (e.g. organizations and people) that are largely autonomous, geographically distributed, and heterogeneous in terms of operating environment and goals, but that collaborate to better achieve common or compatible goals (Camarinha-Matos and Afsarmanesh, 2005). Although everyone knows that the world is now full of uncertainties, disruptions, and catastrophes, CNs, that for a long time have focused on efficiency, have started only recently to consider the VUCA environment as a new normal for governance and it is an undeniable fact they are still not ready (Khol et al., 2019; Zhang et al., 2022; Anes et al., 2022). Basically, most of the CNs managers have, up to now, a too-poor culture of risk and considered variabilities as something limited to “reasonable” changes, particularly regarding the customers’ demand. But COVID-19 or the Ukrainian war highlighted that this variability can be huge and can be applied to many dimensions of the CNs

Consequently, improving the resilience capabilities of CNs is becoming of prime importance. According to Peck (2006) for instance, resilience is the ability of systems, people, or societies to return to their original or desired state after being disturbed, i.e. their ability to absorb or mitigate the impact of the disturbance. 

Reinmoeller and van Baardwijk (2005) assert that the most resilient organizations continually orchestrate a dynamic balance of four innovation strategies, that is, knowledge management, exploration, cooperation, and entrepreneurship. Organization theories and practical experiences agree that organizations can improve resilience by innovating products/services and processes upon the condition that innovation is designed and managed in appropriate ways (Ammirato et al., 2019).

In this sense, in the business environment, a way to push innovation and improve resilience is to set up CNs among organizations. The literature is replete with cases of CNs that have proven to be an effective means to manage innovation for single actors and the system overall (Janahi, Durugbo et Al-Jayyousi, 2022; Tsou, Chen and Yu, 2019). Moreover, the proper mechanisms of the CNs paradigm enable a protective “shield” for the business actors that would be too fragile to react in a solitary fashion to external “shocks”. At the policymaker level, the importance of shrewd innovation management to gain organizational resilience is clear.

Many efforts are evident to support organizations in “building resilience within our existing economy and transforming to a new set of economic ecosystems that are more resilient to future shocks and stresses” (European Commission, 2022, Industry 5.0: A Transformative Vision for Europe). EU states are investing together more than €800 billion in a recovery plan, the NextGenerationEU, which is the largest European stimulus package ever for economic systems. Also, at the research level, the interest in the topic is evident. More than 4.000 scientific papers have been published dealing with resilience and innovation (source: Scopus and Web of Science). Ten of these reported more than 500 citations. More than 40 recognized academic journals published CFP related to SI dealing with resilience and many conferences are devoted to the topic or organized special tracks on it.

Although the importance of improving resilience in CNs and organizations is evident, the ways in which innovation should be managed to reach this aim remain unclear and the topic is attracting increasing interest from scholars.
Moreover, always more researchers from various disciplines such as policy sciences, social sciences, management sciences, computer sciences, or industrial engineering are doubting that resilience could be enough to deal with the current turbulent time (Corvello et al., 2022a).

The surprising and unexpected large-scale and disruptive events are always more frequent strongly affecting the vulnerability of both local networks and the global business environment (Camarinha-matos, 2020). In other words, the resilience of itself could not be sufficient for gaining long-term sustainability of CNs (Corvello et al., 2022b). According to Taleb (2013), the resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better. Thus, the SI wants to deepen the understanding of if and how antifragility, more than resilience, can be the higher-level goal of CNs. This topic is currently under-addressed by the scientific community.

The rationale for this special issue is twofold. First, although improved resilience and antifragility are considered the main ways for CNs to cope with the current turbulent time, theoretical contributions and empirical evidence in this regard are still lacking. The SI calls for contributions in this sense to give insights and suggest directions to scholars, policymakers, and managers/practitioners Second, the SI aims to attract methodological studies and empirical case studies which can deepen the understanding of kinds of innovation and ways to manage it that can contribute to improving resilience and antifragility within CNs.

List of topic areas:

  • Indicative list of themes and key features of the Special Issue 
  • Innovations in social, policy, engineering, computer, or management sciences for better resilience and/or antifragility of CNs.
  • Theoretical aspects and practical evidence of resilience and/or antifragility in CNs.
  • New organizational and governance models for resilient and antifragile CNs.
  • Good practices in process/product/service innovation management in CNs.
  • Research challenges for process/product/service innovation management in CNs.
  • CNs as breeding environments for Open Innovation during VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity & Ambiguity) times.
  • CNs coping with turbulences or disruptions: case studies. 
  • The role of start-ups in fostering innovation in CNs.
  • Approaching Industry 4.0 and 5.0 paradigms in CNs.
  • CNs during COVID19 pandemic and in the new normal era.

Guest Editors:

Salvatore Ammirato, Department of Mechanical, Energy and Management Engineering, University of Calabria, Italy, [email protected]

Matthieu Lauras,  Industrial Engineering Center,  IMT Mines Albi, France, [email protected] 

Luis Camarinha-Matos, NOVA University of Lisbon, Portugal, [email protected]  

Submissions Information:

Submissions are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts. Registration and access are available at the journals Submissions page. Click here for submissions   

Author guidelines must be strictly followed. Please click here for guidelines.

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:

Opening date: 30/06/2023
Closing date: 31/10/2023    
Email for questions regarding submissions: [email protected]


Reference List:

  • Ammirato, S., Sofo, F., Felicetti, A.M., Raso, C. (2019), “A methodology to support the adoption of IoT innovation and its application to the Italian bank branch security context”, European Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. 22 No 1, pp. 146-174.
  • Anes, V., Abreu, A., Dias, A., Calado, J. (2022), “A Risk Model to Promote Collaborative Logistics Networks”. In Collaborative Networks in Digitalization and Society 5.0. 23rd IFIP WG 5.5 Working Conference on Virtual Enterprises, PRO-VE 2022, Lisbon, Portugal, September 19–21, 2022, pp. 475-487.
  • Camarinha-Matos, L.M., Afsarmanesh, H. (2005), “Collaborative networks: A new scientific discipline”, Journal of Intelligent Manufacturing, Vol. 16 No. 4-5, pp. 439-452.
  • Corvello, V., Felicetti, A.M., Troise, C., Tani, M. (2023), Betting on the future: how to build antifragility in innovative start-ups”, Review of managerial science, in press, DOI: 10.1007/s11846-023-00636-x;
  • Corvello, V., Verteramo, S., Giglio, C. (2022a), “Turning crises into opportunities in the service sector: how to build antifragility in small and medium service enterprises”, The TQM Journal, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. DOI:10.1108/TQM-12-2021-0364
  • Corvello, V., Verteramo, S., Nocella, I., & Ammirato, S. (2022b), “Thrive during a crisis: The role of digital technologies in fostering antifragility in small and medium-sized enterprises”, Journal of Ambient Intelligence and Humanized Computing, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. DOI:10.1007/s12652-022-03816-x
  • European Commission, 2022, Industry 5.0: A Transformative Vision for Europe, ESIR Policy Brief No. 3, retrieved at…, last accessed on march 09, 2023
  • Janahi, N.A., Durugbo, C.M., Al-Jayyousi, O.R. (2022), “Exploring network strategies for eco-innovation in manufacturing from a triple helix perspective”, Cleaner Logistics and Supply Chain, Vol.4,: 100035
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  • Tsou, H.T., Chen, J.S., Yu, Y.W. (2019), “Antecedents of co-development and its effect on innovation performance, Management Decision, Vol. 57 No. 7, pp. 1609-1747.
  • Zhang, T., Li, J., Bénaben, F. (2022), “A Simulation Framework Dedicated to Characterizing Risks and Cascading Effects in Collaborative Networks”. In Collaborative Networks in Digitalization and Society 5.0: 23rd IFIP WG 5.5 Working Conference on Virtual Enterprises, PRO-VE 2022, Lisbon, Portugal, September 19–21, 2022, pp. 463-474.