Call for Papers

5th Annual World Open Innovation Conference
Deadline for academic submissions: August 15, 2018

Conference Theme:

Digital Transformation for Sustainability

Conference Chair: Henry Chesbrough, UC Berkeley
Academic Program Chair: Marcel Bogers, University of Copenhagen
Industry Program Chair: Solomon Darwin, UC Berkeley
Associate Program Chairs: Ann-Kristin Zobel, ETH Zurich ;  Jonathan Sims, Babson College; Marcus Holgersson, Chalmers University of Technology; Ivanka Visnjic, ESADE
Assistant Program Chairs: Mehdi Bagherzadeh, NEOMA Business School; Serena Flammini University of Cambridge; Maral Mahdad, University of Copenhagen; Agnieszka Radziwon, Aarhus University; Krithika Randhawa, University of Technology, Sydney


We proudly announce our call for papers for the 5th Annual World Open Innovation Conference (WOIC). 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 (Chesbrough, 2003; Enkel et al., 2009; Laursen & Salter, 2006; Zobel, 2017). It has become a popular area of innovation research, as shown by several reviews (Antons et al., 2016; Dahlander & Gann, 2010; Huizingh, 2011; West & Bogers, 2014; Randhawa et al., 2016). It is also connected to important socio-economic developments, such as digital transformation and sustainability — which the upcoming WOIC will link through this year’s conference theme of “Digital Transformation for Sustainability” (see more below). In addition, the best papers presented at the conference — whether or not connected to the theme — will be considered for a Special Section of California Management Review (CMR) after further review.

More about Call for Papers

In order to better link and thereby further improve open innovation research, practices and policies, scholars need to study open innovation at and across different levels of analysis (Bogers et al., 2017, 2018a). As such, open innovation has implications for how innovation activities take place at different levels of analysis (Chesbrough & Bogers, 2014; West et al., 2014) — ranging from individuals (Bogers et al., 2018b), to projects (Du et al., 2014), to business models (Saebi & Foss, 2015), to ecosystems (Holgersson et al., forthcoming), to public sector organizations (Hilgers & Ihl, 2010). At the same time, there are many opportunities to link open innovation to other domains, such as sustainability (Arcese et al., 2015), servitization (Visnjic et al., 2016), additive manufacturing (Ford et al., 2016), blockchain (Iansiti & Lakhani, 2017), artificial intelligence (Ransbotham et al., 2017), design thinking (Beckman & Barry, 2007), small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) (Vanhaverbeke et al., 2018), and so on. This year, we also have a specific interest to help identify and develop the best new theoretical and applied research in open innovation that can also address the globally emerging grand challenges and the digital revolution (George et al., 2016; Rindfleisch et al., 2017). 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 innovation in their organizations. In addition, we have started to engage policymakers to better understand the opportunities and challenges associated with designing effective open innovation policy measures. The 5th Annual WOIC will include traditional papers sessions, a poster session, practitioner sessions, a meet-the-editor session, paper development workshops, and other interactive sessions. We are seeking 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 — for students and emerging scholars — and we will publish the best papers in a Special Section of CMR (see Bogers et al., 2018 for a Special Section from a previous WOIC). A separate Call for Challenges will be used to identify relevant practical issues faced in managing innovation and attract industry participants, while the conference will also feature particular practitioner awards.

Conference Theme

This year’s conference theme is “Digital Transformation for Sustainability”. The world is currently facing some major trends that fundamentally change the ways in which organizations operate. The grand challenges we currently face, such as in areas as climate change, traffic safety, food ecologies and life expectancy, need to be addressed through an integrative, collaborative and global perspective. Accordingly, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have raised a lot of interest of managers and academics alike. At the same time, the digitalization of the economy and society at large keeps growing tremendously with major implications for how individual, organizations and governments operate. Interestingly and importantly, these developments to a large extent require a more inclusive and collaborative approach in order to understand and cope with the underlying uncertainty of the problems and the ambiguity of what the possible solutions may be. For the upcoming WOIC, we propose to connect these themes and call for research on digital transformation and sustainability, either as separate topics or ideally in exploring the intersection between open innovation, digital transformation and sustainability. We specifically call for research that shows how digital solutions help address sustainability challenges in the context of open innovation as well as related work that addresses such interconnections.

Call for young researchers: moderators for industry sessions

For WOIC 2018, we are looking for 10 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 practitioners. It is a good networking opportunity, and each researcher will receive a Certificate of Completion signed by Professor Henry Chesbrough. If you are interested in applying, please indicate this during the submission of your extended abstract or full paper or send an email to Sea Matilda Bez ( or submit inquiry below.

I want to be a moderator