IT and Innovation


Information Technology and Innovation, Special issue of MIS Quarterly, Edited by Satish Nambisan, Kalle Lyytinen, Ann Majchrzak and Michael Song; Deadline 30 Sep 2014

MIS Quarterly

Call for Papers
MISQ Special Issue on

Information Technology and Innovation

Special Issue Editors

Submission Deadline: September 30, 2014

Motivation and Overview

Over the past 20 years, constant, resilient, merciless, and disruptive innovation has become the key characteristic of the competitive landscape in most industries. At the same time, information technology (IT) has come to bear a critical role in all aspects of innovation—from product–service innovation to business model innovation to management innovation. Innovation processes have become more open and collaborative in nature, involving a diverse global network of partners, customers, and other stakeholders, rendering IT as a critical enabler of distributed innovation and innovation ecosystems (Chesbrough 2003; Nambisan and Sawhney 2007). Digital technologies are getting embedded into an ever increasing range of products and services—from cars and toys to household appliances and medical devices—expanding the role and relevance of IT in innovation outcomes (Yoo et al. 2010). Disruptive business models across industries (Johnson et al. 2008) as well as management innovation (Birkinshaw et al. 2008) are increasingly built around new digital technologies such as social media, mobility, cloud and ubiquitous computing, and analytics.

These and other such changes have significantly enhanced the relevance and significance of IT in innovation and, in turn, imply he need to incorporate IS-related theories and concepts as an inherent element in studies on and theories of innovation (Nambisan 2003). A recent analysis of the state of the literature on IT and product–service innovation indicates two broad, promising avenues for advancing research and practice in this area (Nambisan 2013).

First, the role of IT as enabler of innovation (or as operand resource) signifies the ample opportunities to examine the impact of T on innovation processes, business models, and the nature of business value created. While recent empirical work (e.g., Banker et al. 2006; Durmusoglu and Barczak 2011; Kleis et al. 2012; Pavlou & Sawy 2006) has focused on understanding how and when IT-based tools and applications enhance the likelihood of innovation success, this topic remains a fertile research stream as the diversity of IT applications (e.g., PLM, social media) and the contexts in which they are deployed (e.g., open innovation, innovation ecosystems, crowdsourcing models) continue to expand. Importantly, departing from current research in this area, future studies may need to integrate concepts from other business areas (marketing, operations, etc.) and adopt newer methodological approaches (such as the configurational view; Fichman et al. 2013; Fiss 2007) to clarify the role of IT as operand resource in diverse innovation contexts.

Second, the rapid growth of new digital innovation components reveals another promising opportunity to extend our knowledge— particularly with regard to the design and development of digital components and their integration into diverse innovation platforms (e.g., Tiwana et al. 2010; Woodard et al. 2013). The new level of generativity afforded by digital tools and components (Lee and Berente 2012; Leonardi 2011), and the fast diffusion and adoption processes that follow digital services (Fisher et al. 2011), implies the important yet largely unexplored role for IT as an operant resource (i.e., as a trigger, initiator, or provider) in innovation (Lusch and Nambisan 2014). A focus on the role of IT as operant resource forms another radical departure from the extant studies on IT and innovation as it calls for understanding how IT or digital components (as an inanimate actor in the larger innovation ecosystem) may expand or restrict innovation opportunities. This, in turn, implies exciting possibilities for applying newer theoretical concepts and approaches (for example, effectuation; Sarasvathy 2008) to understand digital innovation.

To a limited extent, the mainstream literature in innovation has already started drawing on (and even building on) some of the IS-related theories and concepts. For example, communication and decision support as dual functionalities of IT and their relative impact on enhancing R&D–Marketing integration (Song and Song 2010) and IT embeddedness in product development processes as an indicator of the impact of IT on product development performance (Barczak et al. 2008). However, the opportunity for the IS field and for theories associated with digital artifacts and processes to make more substantial contributions to the broader literature on innovation remains and motivates this special issue.

Importantly, such contributions need to adopt increasingly an interdisciplinary perspective and integrate IS concepts and theories with those in other business areas (e.g., marketing, management, new product development, economics, operations, entrepreneurship) so as to deepen our understanding of the antecedents, nature, process, and outcomes of innovation (Nambisan 2013). The opportunity for IS scholars to adopt an intradisciplinary perspective (Goes 2013) and to draw upon (and integrate) ideas, methods, and concepts from the different IS research streams (behavioral IS, design science, IS economics) to inform on the role of IT in innovation is equally promising.

Scope and Focus of the Special Issue

The objective of this special issue is to provide a forum for IS and other business scholars to engage in this important dialogue on IT and innovation and to contribute to the development of cumulative knowledge in this pivotal area. We welcome research that focuses on

  1. Applying existing/emergent IS theoretical perspectives to inform on how the infusion of IT reshapes innovation ecosystems, processes, models, platforms/architectures, and outcomes
  2. Proposing conceptual frameworks that integrate IS concepts and other business concepts to develop a fine-grained understanding of product–service innovation
  3. Empirically establishing the role and value of IT in product–service innovation, business model innovation, and management innovation—as an operand resource (i.e., as an enabler) as well as an operant resource (i.e., as a trigger)
  4. Theories and models that better integrate the simultaneous use of IT as an operand and operant resource
  5. Temporal and spatial analyses of innovation processes where IT radically transforms either or both of these dimensions

Possible topics for this special issue include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The nature and extent of business value created by IT in diverse innovation contexts
  • IT and (product–service and business model) innovation performance
  • The impact of IT on new product design and development
  • The adoption, implementation, and use of IT-based product development tools and applications in innovation processes (e.g., PLM)
  • IT and open innovation models
  • The role of online communities and other social media in supporting diverse collaborative innovation models (including crowdsourcing)
  • The role and impact of digital components on innovation platforms, innovation architecture, and innovation processes
  • New digital architectures for innovation platforms
  • Issues at the intersection of IT, organizational design, and innovation—in particular, the ways by which new IT tools drive innovative organizational arrangements and processes in product–service innovation
  • Digital infrastructure and its impact on the structure, governance, and processes in innovation ecosystems
  • The role of IT in facilitating customer co-creation and co-innovation
  • Incremental and radical innovation processes and their dynamics in digital innovation contexts
  • The role of IT in (product–service and business model) innovation in emerging economies

Review Process and Deadlines

Submissions to the special issue should be carefully written and be readable by a broader audience of IS and business scholars. The Guest Editors will screen submissions to ensure appropriate scope and relevance. Papers that do not pass this initial screening will be returned to the authors. The review process will require reviewers to adhere to a three-month review cycle and authors to adhere to a three-month revision cycle.

A maximum of three revisions will be invited for each paper. The authors of the papers that pass the first round of review will be invited to present their research at a Special Issue research conference to be held in February 2015 (Harbin Institute of Technology will sponsor this conference). The conference will enable authors to gain valuable input on their work and promote higher quality submissions for further rounds of review.

Papers that miss the required revision cycle as well as those that are not deemed acceptable after two revisions will be removed from consideration. Submissions will enter a third round of reviews only if the revisions to be undertaken after the second round of reviews are relatively straightforward.


  • Submission due date: September 30, 2014
  • First round due: December 30, 2014
  • Research Workshop: February 2015 (date TBD)
  • Revisions due: April 30, 2015
  • Second round decisions: July 30, 2015
  • Revisions due: October 30, 2015
  • Final editorial decision: November 30, 2015

Special Issue Editorial Board

  • Michel Avital, Copenhagen Business School
  • Gloria Barczak, Northeastern University
  • Indranil Bardhan, University of Texas–Dallas
  • Roman Beck, Johan Goethe University
  • Nick Berente, University of Georgia
  • Roger Calantone, Michigan State
  • Anthony Di Benedetto, Temple University
  • Sanjiv Erat, University of California–San Diego
  • Rob Fichman, Boston College
  • Chris Forman, Georgia Tech
  • Jeffrey Funk, National University of Singapore
  • Ola Henfridsson, University of Warwick
  • Jonny Holmström, Umeå University
  • Hemant Jain, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee
  • Paul Leonardi, Northwestern University
  • Robert Lusch, University of Arizona
  • Dapeng Liang, Harbin Institute of Technology
  • Arvind Malhotra, University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill
  • Anne Massey, Indiana University
  • Sunil Mithas, University of Maryland
  • Muammer Ozer, City University of Hong Kong
  • Paul Pavlou, Temple University
  • Ashish Sood, Case Western Reserve University
  • Huseyin Tanriverdi, University of Texas–Austin
  • Dov Te’eni, Tel-Aviv University
  • Amrit Tiwana, University of Georgia
  • Robin Williams, Edinburgh University
  • Manjit Yadav, Texas A&M University
  • Qiang Ye, Harbin Institute of Technology
  • Bo Yu, Harbin Institute of Technology
  • Kevin Zhu, University of California–San Diego


Banker, R. D., Bardhan, I., and Asdemir, O. 2006. “Understanding the Impact of Collaboration Software on Product Design and Development,” Information Systems Research (17:4), pp. 352-374.

Barczak, G., Hultink, E. J., and Sultan, F. 2008. “Antecedents and Consequences of Information Technology Usage in NPD: A Comparison of Dutch and U.S. Companies,” Journal of Product Innovation Management (25), pp. 620-631.

Birkinshaw, J., Hamel, G., and Mol, M. J. 2008. “Management Innovation,” Academy of Management Review (33:4), pp. 825-845.

Chesbrough, H. 2003. Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating and Profiting from Technology, Boston: HBS Press.

Durmusoglu, S. S., and Barczak, G. 2011. “The Use of Information Technology Tools in New Product Development Phases: Analysis of Effects on New Product Innovativeness, Quality, and Market Performance,” Industrial Marketing Management (40), pp. 321-330.

Fichman, R., Nambisan, S., and Halpern, M. 2013. “Configurational Thinking and Value Creation from Digital Innovation: The Case of Product Lifecycle Management,” in Innovation and IT in an International Context, F. Rowe and D. Te’eni (eds.), London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Fisher M, Lyytinen K., Boland, R., and Perelli S. 2011. “The Co-Production of Social Contagion: A Comparative Analysis of Two Social Networking Sites,” paper presented at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting, August 12-16, 2011, San Antonio, Texas.

Fiss, P. C. 2007. “A Set-Theoretic Approach to Organizational Configurations,” Academy of Management Review (32), pp. 1180-1198.

Goes, P. 2013. “Editor’s Comments: Commonalities across IS Silos and Intradisciplinary Information Systems Research,” MIS Quarterly (37:2), pp. iii-vii.

Johnson, M. W., Christensen, C. M., and Kagermann, H. 2008. “Reinventing Your Business Model,” Harvard Business Review (86:12), pp. 50-59.

Kleis, L., Chwelos, P., Ramirez, R. V., and Cockburn, I. 2012. “Information Technology and Intangible Output: The Impact of IT Investment on Innovation Productivity,” Information Systems Research (23:1), pp. 42-59.

Lee J., and Berente, N. 2012. “Digital Innovation and the Division of Innovative Labor: Digital Controls in the Automobile Industry,” Organization Science (23:5), pp. 1428-1447.

Leonardi, P. M. 2011. “When Flexible Routines Meet Flexible Technologies: Affordance, Constraint, and the Imbrication of Human and Material Agencies,” MIS Quarterly (35:1), pp. 147-167.

Lusch, R., and Nambisan, S. 2014. “Service Innovation: A Service-Dominant Logic Perspective,” MIS Quarterly (forthcoming).

Nambisan, S. 2003. “Information Systems as a Reference Discipline for New Product Development,” MIS Quarterly (27:1), pp. 1-18.

Nambisan, S. 2013. “Information Technology and Product/Service Innovation: A Brief Assessment and Some Suggestions for Future Research,” Journal of the Association for Information Systems (14:4), pp. 215-226.

Nambisan, S., and Sawhney, M. 2007. The Global Brain: Your Roadmap for Innovating Faster and Smarter in a Networked World, Philadelphia: Wharton School Publishing.

Pavlou, P. and Sawy, O. 2006. “From IT Leveraging Competence to Competitive Advantage in Turbulent Environments: The Case of New Product Development,” Information Systems Research (17:3), pp. 198-220.

Sarasvathy, S. D. 2008. Effectuation: Elements of Entrepreneurial Expertise, Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar.

Song, L. Z., and Song, M. 2010. “The Role of Information Technologies in Enhancing R&D–Marketing Integration: An Empirical Investigation,” Journal of Product Innovation Management (27), pp. 382-401.

Tiwana, A., Konsynski, B., and Bush, A. 2010. “Platform Evolution: Coevolution of Platform Architecture, Governance, and Environmental Dynamics,” Information Systems Research (21:4), pp. 675-687.

Woodard, J. C., Ramasubbu, N., Tschang, F., and Sambamurthy, V. 2013. “Design Capital and Design Moves: The Logic of Digital Business Strategy,” MIS Quarterly (37:2), pp. 537-564.

Yoo, Y., Henfridsson, O., and Lyytinen, K. 2010. “The New Organizing Logic of Digital Innovation: An Agenda for Information Systems Research,” Information Systems Research (21:4), pp. 724-735.

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