Innovation Ecosystems


Special issue of Industrial Marketing Management; Deadline 30 Jul 2020



Call for Papers

Innovation Ecosystems

Deadline for submission: 30 July 2020

Industrial Marketing Management announces the call for papers for a special issue on innovation ecosystems.

Overview and Purpose of the special issue

Industrial marketers have become increasingly interested in ecosystems (Aarikka-Stenroos & Ritala, 2017). Although our knowledge of ecosystems is developing rapidly, there is relatively little known about the role played by lead companies and platform owners in this process (Pattinson et al., 2018). Innovation ecosystems are increasingly recognized as an attractive term for characterizing a variety of value creating interactions and relationships between interconnected organizations, particularly in a B2B context. An innovation ecosystem emphasizes the importance of pluralism amongst diverse actors and entities connected by a broad range of loosely connected innovation networks and knowledge clusters (Carayannis & Campbell, 2009). Additionally, multi-sided platform-based ecosystems (Gawer, 2014) can facilitate exchanges between buyers of both core and complementary products. Increasingly, coopetition and open innovation initiatives are clustered around platform leaders, rather than being spatially co-located. Research suggests that the ecosystem concept would seem to be of increasing importance, particularly in high-tech sectors where coopetition and open innovation activities are conducted around digital platforms where direct relationships may not exist between key complementors. However, gaps remain to be filled, and further research could extend the innovation ecosystem context to lead firms and platform owners. Moreover, evolution of the ecosystems raises questions about business model innovation. As Autio and Thomas (2014, p. 4) note, the ecosystems construct is distinct from other related constructs in a number of ways:

  1. It is the only construct to explicitly conceptually cover both upstream (production side) and downstream (user side) activities, echoing the original meaning of ‘ecosystem’.
  2. It is different from value chain and supply chain paradigms because of its non-linear aspect and includes both vertical and horizontal relationships between actors.
  3. It is distinguished from value creation- oriented constructs such as value networks and value constellations by its focus on value appropriation and use.
  4. It focuses on the evolution of networks of interconnected actors rather than emphasizing optimization of the output potential of the current network configuration.

This raises the further question regarding what ecosystems bring to industrial marketing research that is new and/or different. This special issue of Industrial Marketing Management seeks papers that address this gap.

Specific topics may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Ecosystem management – are specific management/ marketing approaches required?
  • Research methodology/ approaches: e.g. agent-based modelling, netnographics, etc.
  • Governance of ecosystems (ownership, contracts, communication control…).
  • Underlying research philosophies and methodologies: consideration of the economic sociology dimensions of ecosystems
  • Multi-sided platform-based ecosystems as facilitators for exchanges between buyers of both core and complementary products.
  • The impact of different spatial and cultural contexts on ecosystem development
  • The role of trust building in complex innovation ecosystems.
  • The role of platform owners in ecosystem success
  • Barriers to ecosystem development
  • Innovation ecosystems and lead firms
  • The contribution of innovation ecosystems to regional development
  • Innovation ecosystems and new product development
  • Understand the forms of competition that take place in innovation ecosystems
  • Innovation ecosystems and niche markets
  • The dynamics of platform-based innovation ecosystems
  • Ecosystem evolution and business model innovation
  • Ecosystems and the co-creation of service
  • The role of innovation ecosystems in service research

We will give preference to empirical papers—both qualitative and quantitative—although theoretical papers that examine fundamental issues in, or offer comprehensive frameworks of, value in business and industrial marketing also are welcomed. As Industrial Marketing Management is widely read by an academic and business audience, all submissions should include implications for practitioners.

Preparation and submission of paper and review process

Papers submitted must not have been published, accepted for publication, or presently be under consideration for publication elsewhere. Submissions should be about 6,000-8,000 words in length. Copies should be uploaded on Industrial Marketing Management’s homepage through the EVISE system. You need to upload your paper using the dropdown box for the special issue on innovation ecosystems. For guidelines, visit

Papers not complying with the notes for contributors (cf. homepage) or poorly written will be desk rejected. Suitable papers will be subjected to a double-blind review; hence, authors must not identify themselves in the body of their paper. (Please do not submit a Word file with “track changes” active or a PDF file.)

Please address all questions to the guest editors:

Steven Pattinson, Sheffield University Management School, University of Sheffield

John Nicholson, Huddersfield Business School, University of Huddersfield

Michael Ehret, Nottingham Business School, Nottingham Trent University

Chander Velu, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge

Paul Ryan, Trinity Business School, The University of Dublin


Aarikka-Stenroos, L. & Ritala, P. (2017), “Network management in the era of ecosystems: Systematic review and management framework”, Industrial Marketing Management 67: 23-36.

Autio, E. & Thomas, L. D. W. (2014), “Innovation ecosystems: Implications for innovation management”. In M. Dodgson, D. M. Gann, & N. Phillips (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Innovation Management (pp. 204-228). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Barile, S., Lusch, R., Reynoso J., Saviano, M. & Spohrer, J. (2016), “Systems, networks, and ecosystems in service research”, Journal of Service Management 27(4): 652-674.

Carayannis, E. G. & Campbell, D. F. J. (2009), “‘Mode 3’ and ‘Quadruple Helix’: Toward a 21st century fractal innovation ecosystem”, International Journal of Technology Management 46(3-4): 201-234.

Gawer, A. (2014), “Bridging differing perspectives on technological platforms: Toward an integrative framework”, Research Policy 43(7): 1239-1249.

Pattinson, S., Nicholson, J. & Lindgreen, A. (2018), “Emergent coopetition from a sensemaking perspective: A multi-level analysis”, Industrial Marketing Management 68: 25-35.