Digital Innovation Minitrack

Permanent URI for this collection

Organizations must continually innovate in order to succeed over time. In recent decades, an increasing portion of this innovation is enabled or driven by digital technologies. New products, services, operations, business models, industrial arrangements, work organization, etc., have all been dramatically influenced by the digital technologies that are involved in their development, and the digital technologies that are embedded in the innovations themselves. The goal of this minitrack is to offer a venue for research that focuses on unique and specific effects of digital technologies on different forms of organizational innovation.

The minitrack solicits three types of submissions: (1) characterizations of novel process innovations involving digital technologies; (2) digital technologies embedded in product and service innovation - as well as product servitization - as a result of digitalization; and (3) emerging infrastructures for digital innovation. Next we will describe each of these types of submissions with examples of each.

  1. Digital Technologies and Process Innovation
  2. Papers that investigate the role of digital technologies in the context of organizational processes and process change efforts. Topics include:

    • Digital technologies and organizational routines and business processes
    • Digitally-enabled business models and strategies
    • Sociotechnical and sociomaterial conceptualizations of organizational change
    • Digital technologies and organizational design
    • Business process change in organizations and the role of digital technologies
    • Digital technologies and re-configuration of value-chains
    • Industrial organization and changes associated with digital technologies
    • Embedding of digital technologies in tools and changes in work

  3. Digital Technologies and Product/Service Innovation
  4. Papers that investigate the role of specific digital technologies within innovative products or services, and how these technologies may impact organizational innovation and strategy (e.g., architectures, modularity, platforms, systems integration).

    • Organizing for digitally-enabled products and services
    • Digital technologies and service science
    • Digital convergence and organizational industrial structures
    • Digitalization of physical products and changes in strategy
    • Innovations in digital service ecosystem and platform
    • Digital product architectures
    • Digitalization, product modularity, and related modes of organizing
    • Digital controls and organizing

  5. Infrastructures for Digital Innovation
  6. Papers on the digital technologies (tools, infrastructures, etc.) that support innovative processes such as software development, product design & engineering, R&D, and science are encouraged. Such practices may be different than other organizational practices because they involve virtual collaboration, geographic distribution, iteration, simulation, etc. The tools and infrastructures upon which these practices rest might shape those practices in different industrial contexts. Examples of potential topics along these lines include:

    • Digital innovation platforms (such as mobile platforms, crowd-sourcing platforms, etc.) and organizing
    • Organizing for the development of digital infrastructures
    • Digital tools enabling creativity, design, engineering, and other innovative activities (for example, CAD tools and engineering activity; CASE tools and software development; CAS tools and strategy development etc.)
    • Infrastructures for organizational and interorganizational innovation, such as product lifecycle management (PLM) systems in manufacturing; building information modeling (BIM) environments in the AEC industry; or cyberinfrastructure (or e-science) in science.
    • Organizational elements of integrating disparate digital technologies; or of digital with non-digital systems

The types of studies that would be welcomed by this minitrack would include and explicit focus on a particular form of digital technology in the context of organizational innovation. We especially encourage papers that carefully attend to the fundamental elements and features of the digital technologies that shape or impact innovation processes and outcomes.

Beyond this requirement, we welcome all forms of research, including qualitative, quantitative, mixed, and conceptual papers. In particular, we seek:

  • Quantitative and computational studies involving large data sets
  • Case studies and interpretive work
  • Design science and action research in organizational settings
  • Ambitious, provocative, and creative conceptual or theoretical work of the nature and effects of digitalization

Minitrack Co-Chairs:

Nicholas Berente (Primary contact)
Unviersity of Georgia

Kalle Lyytinen
Case Western Reserve University

Youngjin Yoo
Temple University


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 10 of 11
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    The Socio-Technical Dimension of Inertia in Digital Transformations
    ( 2017-01-04) Schmid, Alexander M. ; Recker, Jan ; vom Brocke, Jan
    When organizations undertake large transformation initiatives enabled by information technology, these efforts are often hampered by inertia. The literature suggests that inertia plays a dual role in organizations: it is both required for organizational efficiency and an antecedent of resistance to change. While traditionally inertia is believed to reside in human actors, we suggest that inertia is rooted in multiple facets – in routines, resources such as social agents, and also technology – and plays on multiple levels – at individual, group, and organizational ones. In this essay, we propose a new conceptualization of inertia that encompasses and integrates these elements. Our model suggests that inertia occurs as path-dependent rigidity in organizational behavior through the coalescence of social entities with technology artifacts. We illustrate our new understanding of inertia by revisiting two case vignettes of inertia and impeded digital transformations.
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    The Role of YouTube in the Digitalization of TV: A Case Study of Novel Value Co-creation Practices at United Screens
    ( 2017-01-04) Griborn, Evelina ; Nylen, Daniel
    Research has shown how incumbent firms in content- based industries (e.g. music, news and photography) were radically affected by digitalization as powerful digital platforms emerged as new loci of innovation. While scholars have suggested that digital technology calls for novel organizing logics and value creation processes, there is a need for further knowledge of what characterizes them, and how they emerge in practice. In addressing this gap we studied United Screens, a firm that capitalizes on the digitalization of video contents by managing major YouTubers and connecting them with advertisers. The study shows how United Screens leverages the layered modularity of digital product architectures for new constellation- based modes of value co-creation. Overall, the paper contributes to research on digital innovation by shedding light on how a novel actor category champions content-driven value creation, an underexplored aspect of digital platform ecosystems.
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    Scaling the User Base of Digital Ventures Through Generative Pattern Replication: The Case of Ridesharing.
    ( 2017-01-04) Kelestyn, Bozhena ; Henfridsson, Ola ; Nandhakumar, Joe
    Digital ventures seek to scale their user base quickly and effectively across markets in order to lock out competitors and drive adoption through positive feedback loops. We view such rapid global scaling as an organising logic by which ventures replicate a generic solution to recurring challenges, that are found in expanding a user base across markets; which is usually characterized by slight variables in their conditions. We distinguish and describe this as a process of “generative pattern replication”, where an existing scaling pattern is specialised to the specific circumstances of the new market, and applied there. For our study we looked at BlaBlaCar, a ridesharing venture that has rapidly scaled its business into 22 markets, to gain a better understanding about this generative process. Our research contributes to the digital innovation literature by proposing a novel perspective on the scaling of digital ventures. \
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    Platform Thinking in Incumbent Firms: From Concept to Capability
    ( 2017-01-04) Leijon, Erik ; Svenheden, Joanda ; Svahn, Fredrik
    Incumbent firms struggle with new forms of competition in today’s increasingly digital environments. To leverage the benefits of innovation ecosystems they often shift focus from products to platforms. However, existing research provides limited insight into how firms actually implement this shift. Addressing this void, we have conducted a comparative case study where we adopt the concept of platform thinking to comprehend what capabilities incumbents need when engaging in innovation ecosystems and how those capabilities are developed.
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    Physical and Digital Innovation in Shipping: Seeding, Standardizing, and Sequencing
    ( 2017-01-04) Watson, Richard ; Lind, Mikael ; Haraldson, Sandra
    Two innovations within shipping are analyzed. (1) Containerization, an analog innovation that commenced about 50 years ago, created a new system for the handling of global trade and drove shipping costs to the point of financial irrelevance. (2) Sea traffic management is an EU digital innovation in process that aims to revolutionize the shipping business. We identify the seed innovation, which in each case initiates a standardization process and a series of sequenced and coordinated innovations that created a new transport system in one case, and are planned to fashion a smarter system in the second. We conclude with some research questions on seed innovations and the sequencing of innovations for new system emergence. \
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    Minimizing Complementors’ Risk in Third-Party Innovation: A Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) of Digital Platform Configurations
    ( 2017-01-04) Dellermann, Dominik ; Reck, Fabian
    The emergence of platforms is shifting the locus of digital innovation to ecosystems on which numerous developers create extensions with additional functionalities. Despite all the potential benefits for complementors, however, this new organizing logic of digital innovation also introduced essential new risks. Recent studies in IS focused on risk of IT projects from a contingency perspective neglecting the complexity of ecosystems. In order to shed light on this, our work examines how app architecture as a complementor´s control mechanism and four types of ecosystem hazards shape the likelihood and impact of the risk of failure in third-party innovation. By using a configurational approach based on fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (FsQCA), we display complex interactional effects of the causal conditions on complementors’ perception of hazardous environments and thus provide valuable insights for both practice and theory on platform ecosystems.
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    Emergent Ecosystem for Radical Innovation: Entrepreneurial Probing at Formula E
    ( 2017-01-04) Jarvenpaa, Sirkka ; Standaert, Willem
    Entrepreneurial action is increasingly associated with innovation ecosystems because no firm alone can render the complex and interdependent services demanded in markets. Moreover, entrepreneurial firms are increasingly instigators of innovation ecosystems, rather than merely participants. However, particularly in the pursuit of radical innovation, a question arises as to how an entrepreneurial firm begins to form and shape the landscape for an emergent ecosystem. In this paper, we examine the innovation activities of Formula E, a new venture at the hub of an emerging ecosystem, aiming to transform motorsports for digital-native fans. Digital technologies are providing nearly boundless possibilities but represent uncertain opportunities in terms of their ability to engage young fans, who previously have shown little interest in motorsports. We identify probing as a way to use initiatives to provoke engagement and generate open-ended dialog and discussion. Entrepreneurial probing helps to expand the innovation landscape in search of heterogeneous need-solution pairs.
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    Digital Product Innovation in Manufacturing Industries - Towards a Taxonomy for Feedback-driven Product Development Scenarios
    ( 2017-01-04) Holler, Manuel ; Neiditsch, Gerard ; Uebernickel, Falk ; Brenner, Walter
    In the light of pervasive digitalization, traditional physical products get augmented with digital components that create the potential of making the whole product lifecycle visible for product developers. As numerous opportunities sketch out how feedback such as sensor data might be leveraged for future products, a comprehensive model to describe, particularly a classification model to organize and structure these opportunities seems analytically useful. Hence, this paper pursues a scenario-based approach and proposes a taxonomy for feedback-driven product development scenarios in manufacturing industries. Grounded on (1) empirical data from case studies and focus groups and (2) a systematic literature review, we follow an established taxonomy development method employing the general systems theory as meta-characteristic. With the limitation of a (1) qualitative, interpretive empirical research design and a (2) representative literature review, we contribute to the body of knowledge by shedding light on feedback-driven product development from a classification perspective which may act as structuring and creativity fostering tool.
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    Building Digital Infrastructures: Towards an Evolutionary Theory of Contextual Triggers
    ( 2017-01-04) Koutsikouri, Dina ; Lindgren, Rikard ; Henfridsson, Ola
    Past IS research suggests it is challenging to build digital infrastructures and then make sure they grow. While more users, innovative services, and new partners spur infrastructure evolution, we know little of the specific contextual triggers that set these generative mechanisms in motion. To this end, we conduct a case study of a digitalized public transport infrastructure to identify such triggers and explore their impact on its evolution. Our study contributes to the extant literature on digital infrastructure evolution in two distinct ways. First, we analyze, define, and propose three contextual triggers that improve our understanding of the generative mechanisms behind infrastructure development and growth. Second, we rely on this conceptual basis to sketch out the initial contours of a novel evolutionary theory of digital infrastructure triggers. \
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    Beyond Business-IT Alignment - Digital Business Strategies as a Paradigmatic Shift: A Review and Research Agenda
    ( 2017-01-04) Kahre, Cathrin ; Hoffmann, David ; Ahlemann, Frederik
    Since the 1990s, business-IT alignment has been considered the appropriate organizational frame for business and IT strategies. Thereafter, with the rising importance of innovative digital technologies for performance and competitiveness, the concept of digital business strategies (DBS) emerged. The fusion of business and IT strategies is presumed to account for the inevitable transformations that digital technologies triggered. This paradigmatic shift poses new challenges to practitioners and researchers, as current assumptions regarding strategizing processes need to be questioned. This study sets out to provide a structured clarification of the current digital business strategies knowledge base. It provides a threefold contribution by: 1) structuring the research efforts on digital business strategies, 2) uncovering knowledge gaps and 3) developing an agenda for future research.