Downstream Product Innovation and Upstream Supply Chain Implications

Call for papers for: Supply Chain Management

Downstream Product Innovation and Upstream Supply Chain Implications  

Special issue call for papers from Supply Chain Management: an International Journal


Submission Due Date: November 30, 2020


Gary Graham, Lesley Woolley


The focus of this special issue is on advancing knowledge with respect to understanding how radical shifts in downstream product innovation are influencing supply chain configuration (Birkel and Hartmann, 2019). Radical shifts in product/service concepts are occurring through disruptive technological trends (robots, internet of things, 3D and 4D printing, self-driving systems, artificial intelligence, bio and neurotech and virtual/augmented reality). Furthermore, in advanced manufacturing products such as cars, pharmaceutical products, telecommunications, computing, medical devices, energy, buildings,  drones and robotics, a combination of “digital technology”, “sustainability blueprints” and “multi-partner” innovation is leading to a profound re-thinking of both product/service architectures and their supporting supply chains (Sogaard et al., 2019).  
Whilst previous work has focused on product innovation, there has been a failure to address the supply chain implications of changes in an  entire product ecosystem (Adner, 2017; Jacobides et al., 2018) .  Horizontal boundaries and eco-systems, according to Santos and Eisenhardt (2005) are defined by both the scope of product/markets served and  increasingly through negotiation between the firm and public organizations and end users. Whilst, vertical boundaries are defined by the scope of activities undertaken by each agent, involved in supplying the product and services in the industry value chain. Work that combines the relationship between horizontal and vertical perspectives is particularly welcome. Likewise, investigations that explore the role to be played by infrastructure, physical/technical, human resources and local anchor institutions (i.e. hospitals, universities, libraries) in supporting new forms of product innovation. 
As indicated by Caputo et al., (2019) there is a need therefore for work that integrates horizontal (product innovation, multi-partner alliances) and vertical (supply chain) boundary elements together. For instance, innovation is now taking place in the car industry inter-organizationally and between public institutions and private firms (IEA, 2020). Organizations increasingly engage in interorganizational strategizing (Deken et al. 2018). The rivals Daimler and BMW, for example, merged their mobility platforms Car2Go and DriveNow to jointly establish ShareNow, an intermodal service hub that incorporates public and private transport (Daimler, 2014). As well as economic pressure to innovate firms are now having external triggers to meet sustainability and low carbon targets. Initiatives such as smart and resilient cities, green infrastructural corridors and clean air policies are leading to new conceptions of value, a long run value in use as well as the market exchange measures of value usually associated with measuring the impact of an innovation. For instance, the pressure to replace all internal combustion engines with electric vehicles,  by as early as 2030 in some advanced economies such as Norway (Kley et al., 2011). Furthermore, such objectives require a fundamental re-thinking of supply chains as they provide the vital arteries supplying cities with urban logistics (i.e. human and freight mobility) as well as the goods and services needed to function.  
Such simultaneous cooperation and competition between firms is common practice not only in the automotive industry (Ritala, 2012). Likewise, both public and private, from various industries are involved in supplying medical devices, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, the cyber-physical infrastructure such as 5G in the form of multi-partner initiatives (MPI’s). 
Whilst the emergence of digital technologies is driving innovations, in terms of ‘processes’, ‘products’ and ‘services’ (Anderson, 2013). This requires greater visibility, alignment and integration across an increasingly complex network of multiple partners, to deliver better ‘service outcomes’ and ‘customer experience’ (D’Aveni, 2015, McIntyre. and Srinivasan, 2017). Yet, very few empirical studies have been conducted to assess the real business value of inter-organizational product innovation at both the firm and supply chain levels. 
A good example is that of Tesla. They not only produce electric vehicles, but they have also introduced a new hardware and software architecture (the way you put the car together). Furthermore, it has built out a charging network for its cars across the US. Tesla’s supply chain  strategy also considers the level of individual components for its products. In the case of electric cars, even though batteries are made of commodity materials, because their power capacity limits the performance of most applications, especially cars, they are a bottleneck to the performance of the whole system (Furr and Der, 2020).


A previous SI edited by Prof. Wagner and Prof. Wilding explored concepts of disruptive and radical innovation (New Supply Chain Models: Disruptive Supply Chain Strategies for 2030 (Volume 24, Issue 1)). Whilst the focus of that SI was with literature and conceptual work, this SI is purely applied and empirically grounded and seeking to explore issues and develop knowledge now and into the future. We would encourage a variety of papers including case studies, ethnographies and more innovative experimental methods. With the proviso that that the empirical papers are based on real data and not on scenarios, simulations or speculation. Innovative visual data collection methods, qualitative and quantitative innovations, field experiments and techniques such as design thinking are to be encouraged. Surveys are more appropriately submitted as part of a multi-method package. Therefore, we do not accept bibliometric, literature reviews or content analysis works in this special issue.  Furthermore, we would like to reinforce that all contributions need to be empirical and that the SI does not include conceptual, modelling or simulation approaches. 
The main objective of this special issue is to collate and present recent research examinations in the field of product innovation and its links with supply chain management.  We are particularly interested in empirical studies investigating  products undergoing a dramatic change in their architectures and dominant product/service logic. For instance, where product innovation is being replaced by a service dominant logic (i.e. such as mobility) and also leading to a fundamental re-thinking of outsourcing strategies, supplier roles in new product development, project management, market development management, supplier interface management, inter and intra-firm relationships, supply network structure, process flows and technologies. 
In this Special Issue we are looking in particular at the supply chain management processes of product innovation involving advanced and high technology manufacturing (i.e. medical instruments, cell tissue), distributed manufacturing and local production. Finally, we would like to emphasise that both theoretical and practical implications to supply chain management should be presented in all contributions. 


The topics to be discussed in this special issue include but are not limited to the following:
•    New theory development which empirically models the impact of product eco-system innovation on supply chain management. 
•    Examinations of where product innovation, multi-partner initiatives and climate change is leading to a fundamental re-thinking of outsourcing strategies, supplier roles in new product development, project management, market development management, supplier interface management, inter and intra-firm relationships, supply network structure, process flows and technologies. 
•    Assessment of how firms in a supply chain create and capture business value from radical and disruptive product innovation. 
•    Assessment of the enablers and implications of radical and disruptive innovation on the design of future supply networks.
•    What new capabilities are required to deal with dramatic shifts in "product eco-systems" and "ecologies" in terms of new requirements for process management, equipment, technology, systems, skills and attitudes?
•    Assessment of supply network transformations that firms are undertaking to better realize the opportunities of new products, markets and technologies
•     Works on innovation ecosystems and institutional theory approaches to understanding supply chain adjustments and innovation.
•    How are firms aligning and negotiating their horizontal boundaries with public authorities and consumers, pressure groups and trade associations? What does this imply for supply chains? 
•    Assessment of how firms are dealing with new suppliers with no previous legacy or capability of operating in their traditional supply chain (i.e. infotainment, software, battery suppliers). 
•    How can innovation capital be a source of strategic advantage in the supply chain (i.e. Tesla)?  


Prospective authors are invited to submit papers for this special thematic issue on Reconfiguring business processes in the new political and technological landscape on or before November 30, 2020. All submissions must be original and may not be under review by another publication.
Interested authors should consult the journal’s guidelines for manuscript on the journal's page.

Editor in Chief:
Professor Beverly Wagner 

All inquiries should be directed to the attention of:
Gary Graham – (Lead Guest Editor)
E-mail: [email protected]

All manuscript submissions to the special issue should be sent through the online submission system.

•    Adner, R. (2017). 'Ecosystem as structure: an actionable construct for strategy', Journal of Management, 43, pp. 39-58.
•    Anderson, C. (2013). Makers: The new industrial revolution. New York: Crown Business.
•    Birkel, H.S. and Hartmann, E. (2019). Impact of IoT challenges and risks for SCM. Supply Chain Management: An International Journal. pp. 39-61.
•    Caputo, A., Fiorentino, R. and Garzella, S. (2019). From the boundaries of management to the management of boundaries. Business Process Management Journal.pp. 391-413.
•    DaimlerAG (2014). 'BMW and Daimler combine mobility services', available at:
•    D'Aveni, R. (2015). The 3-D revolution. Harvard Business Review, 93 (5): 40-48.
•    Deken, F., H. Berends, G. Gemser and K. Lauche (2018). 'Strategizing and the initiation of interorganizational collaboration through prospective resourcing', Academy of Management Journal, 61, pp. 1920-1950
•    Furr, N. and Dyer, J (2020) Lessons from Tesla’s approach to innovation. Harvard Business Review, available at:
•    IEA (2020) Electric Vehicles Initiative, available at:
•    Jacobides, M. G., C. Cennamo and A. Gawer (2018). 'Towards a theory of ecosystems', Strategic Management Journal, 39, pp. 2255-2276.
•    Kley, F., C. Lerch and D. Dallinger (2011). 'New business models for electric cars—A holistic approach', Energy policy, 39, pp. 3392-3403.
•    McIntyre, D. P. and A. Srinivasan (2017). 'Networks, platforms, and strategy: Emerging views and next steps', Strategic Management Journal, 38, pp. 141-160
•    Ritala, P. (2012). Coopetition strategy–when is it successful? Empirical evidence on innovation and market performance. British Journal of Management, 23(3), pp.307-324.
•    Santos, F.M. and Eisenhardt, K.M. (2005). Organizational boundaries and theories of organization. Organization Science, 16(5), pp.491-508.
•    Søgaard, B., Skipworth, H.D., Bourlakis, M., Mena, C. and Wilding, R (2019). Facing disruptive technologies: aligning purchasing maturity to contingencies. Supply Chain Management: An International Journal. pp. 147-169. 
•    Wilding, R. and Wagner, B. (2019). New Supply Chain Models: Disruptive Supply Chain Strategies for 2030 (Systematic Literature Reviews). Supply Chain Management: An International Journal , 24, 1.