Call for Papers

7th Annual World Open Innovation Conference

Conference Theme:

Leading the Recovery: Turning Threats into Opportunities with Open Innovation

Conference Chair: Henry Chesbrough (University of California, Berkeley / LUISS)
Academic Program Chairs: Marcel Bogers (University of Copenhagen / University of California, Berkeley) ; Ann-Kristin Zobel (University of St. Gallen)
Industry Program Chair: Solomon Darwin (University of California, Berkeley) ; Jonathan Sims (Babson College)
Associate Program Chairs: Marcus Holgersson (Chalmers University of Technology); Alberto di Minin (Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna), Krithika Randhawa (University of Technology Sydney); Ivanka Visnjic (ESADE)
Assistant Program Chairs: Mehdi Bagherzadeh (NEOMA Business School); Serena Flammini (Tesco); Maral Mahdad (Wageningen University); Chiara de Marco (Ciaotech – PNO Group); Agnieszka Radziwon (University of California, Berkeley / Aarhus University); Sea Matilda Bez (University of Montpellier)


The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic is having a profound impact on economic and social life throughout much of the world. How should innovators adapt to the so-called “new normal” and lead their organizations towards recovery? In this year’s edition of the World Open Innovation Conference (WOIC), we will focus on the knowledge and tools from open innovation that help innovators overcome threats, and identify new opportunities for growth and recovery.

Due to continuing safety concerns and public health restrictions with respect to large gatherings during the Covid-19 pandemic, we have made the decision to transform WOIC 2020 into a virtual conference. Our digital task force is currently working on the conference format and updates will be forthcoming.

In the meantime, we are looking forward to receiving your submissions.

More about Call for Papers

Why Participate in WOIC 2020?

The goal of the WOIC is to bring theory and practice closer together. We seek the latest in academic research on open innovation, and combine that in our program with challenges faced by industry executives who manage open innovation in their organizations. In addition, we aim at engaging policy makers to better understand the opportunities and challenges associated with designing effective open innovation policy measures.

The 7th Annual WOIC will include traditional research paper sessions, practitioner sessions, and paper development workshops. Depending on the exact format of the conference (i.e. digital, physical or blended), we will organize different interactive sessions that enable and stimulate discussion, constructive feedback, and networking.

For the submission process we welcome both traditional research papers and those with a more managerial or policy orientation. From the accepted submissions, we will be selecting two academic award winners (and runner-up), with one prize for the best student paper and one for the best emerging scholar paper. In addition, the best papers submitted to the conference, whether or not connected to the theme, will be considered for a Special Section of California Management Review (CMR) — see Bogers et al. (2018a; 2019) for the two previous Special Sections from previous WOICs — after further review (see more below).

A separate Call for Challenges will be launched to identify relevant practical issues faced in managing innovation and attract industry participants, while the conference will also feature practitioner awards.

Conference Theme

In light of the current pandemic, we have decided to adapt this year’s conference theme. WOIC 2020 will focus on discussing how innovators can meet the challenges of our times by: “Leading the recovery: Turning threats into opportunities with open innovation”.

Open innovation describes “a distributed innovation process based on purposively managed knowledge flows across organizational boundaries” (Chesbrough & Bogers, 2014: 17). It provides insights into how firms can harness inflows and outflows of knowledge to improve their innovation success (e.g., Chesbrough, 2003, 2019; Bagherzadeh et al., 2019a; Laursen & Salter, 2006; Zobel, 2017). Recent research has also highlighted how open innovation can be harnessed to address grand challenges (Bogers et al., 2020) and generate social impact (Kohler & Chesbrough, 2019). Several developments throughout the pandemic have already highlighted the crucial role of innovation, openness, and knowledge flows for dealing with the crisis (e.g., Chesbrough, 2020; Wenzel, Stanske, & Lieberman, 2020). Scientists around the world mobilize to collaborate on possible vaccines against the virus. Data and scientific publications are shared more openly to accelerate progress in our combat against Covid-19. Firms are looking for new ways to innovate and collaborate in order to provide essential infrastructure and products, such as masks and ventilators. We believe that many of these examples can provide new insights into our understanding of the underlying processes and value of open innovation, while we also hope that our research on open innovation can provide some insights to address these emerging problems.

As a grand challenge, the Covid-19 crisis is affecting many parts of our lives, and unprecedented coordination and collaboration will be needed to develop comprehensive solutions (George et al., 2016). This will have implications for the management and governance of innovation across private and public stakeholders (Ansell & Gash, 2008). Beyond the innovations related to the direct combat against Covid-19, firms are, more generally, facing various new challenges in their innovation processes. Digital transformation has suddenly become a reality rather than a vision. Despite the financial pressure and economic downturn, firms need to continue to invest in innovation. But how can firms continue to innovate during times of crisis and how might they innovate better, after the crisis has one day passed? What is the role of openness when innovating in times of crisis and how can open innovation support the recovery of organizations and enable new opportunities for growth? We are looking forward to generating and discussing new insights into these timely and pressing questions.

Call for young researchers as moderators for industry sessions

For WOIC 2020, we are looking for 12 young researchers (PhD students or recently graduated) who will act as moderators of problem-solving sessions for current challenges that will be presented by selected firms and discussed by a team of academics and practitioner. Each moderator will receive a Certificate of Completion signed by Professor Henry Chesbrough and be involved in writing one section of the industry white paper. If you are interested in applying, please indicate this during the submission of your extended abstract or full paper or send a message on LinkedIn to Serena Flammini and Chiara de Marco.

I want to be a moderator