Journal of Product Innovation Management (JPIM)
Call for Papers
Special Issue: Social Innovation in an Interconnected World
Dr. Ruby P. Lee, Florida State University, USA ([log in to unmask])
Dr. Jelena Spanjol, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany
([log in to unmask])
Dr. Sunny Li Sun, University of Massachusetts-Lowell, USA ([log in to unmask])
Dr. Bo Zou, Harbin Institute of Technology, China ([log in to unmask])
Motivation for the Special Issue
Over the past two decades, social innovations have dramatically changed the landscape of
worldwide societal challenges such as social inequality, poverty, pollution, energy provision,
unemployment, and healthcare. Defined as a way to offer novel solutions that can more
effectively and efficiently solve social problems and needs, social innovations like
Microfinance and Fairtrade labels have become the main engine of inclusive growth and
social change (Cajaiba-Santana, 2014; Phills, Deiglmeier, and Miller, 2008). Comparing
innovation capabilities and outputs, ‘The Global Innovation Index 2015’ reported that eight
economies (China, India, Jordan, Kenya, the Republic of Moldova, Mongolia, Malaysia, and
Vietnam) demonstrated the most persistent innovation performance over the last few years
(Dutta, Lanvin, and Wunsch-Vincent, 2015). A hallmark of the innovation efforts in these
economies is the objective to create value to society and solve social problems, particularly
those aimed at the bottom-of-the-pyramid (BoP) (Prahalad, 2004; Varadarajan 2014).
In addition, different parts of the world have become more interconnected, thanks to the
advancement of information technology. A growing number of firms have shifted their
primary motivation to engage in emerging markets from being purely economic to
environmental and social. Start-up and large firms have begun to consider not only offering
new products and services (e.g., microfinance) to the BoP at extremely low prices, but also
increasing their emphases on “doing well while doing good” to the society (Sun and Im,
2015; Varadarajan 2014). The mission statement of Bandhan Bank
(www.bandhanbank.com) in India, for example, states: “It is a bank for all but the focus
remains unchanged to meet the financial needs of people who are overlooked by the formal
banking system and create better education, health care and self-employment
opportunities.” Similarly, Centera in Mexico promotes social value and human value: “We
grow to offer inclusion opportunities to the largest number of people in the shortest time
possible, sharing these benefits with the communities where we operate…We trust people
and their ability to grow, improve and fulfill their goals.” In developed countries, TOMS
Shoes initiated the “buy-one-give- one” business model -- helping “a person in need” with
every purchase – and inspired many empathetic followers (Marquis and Park, 2014).
In part because the social innovation literature is still “fragmented, disconnected, and
scattered among different fields” (Cajaiba-Santana, 2014:42-43), we believe that it is time
to revisit existing theories in innovation, entrepreneurship, public policy and other domains
to account for various new phenomena relating to social innovation. Given the evolving
nature of innovation and the shifting focus of innovation from developed economies to
emerging economies (Lee, Ozsomer, and Zhou 2015; Subramaniam, Ernst, and Dubiel
2015), the purpose of this special issue is to address a pressing need to understand social
innovation in an interconnected world, specifically its role in emerging economies.
Theoretically, it is also important to clarify the notion of social innovation and examine
whether or not and how it is different from frugal innovation (Radjou and Prabhu, 2015),
inclusive innovation (Sun and Im, 2015), responsible innovation (Stilgoe, Owen, and
Macnaghten 2013), and sustainable innovation (Varadarajan, 2017), among others.
Specific Focus of the Special Issue
Given the multidisciplinary nature of social innovation and entrepreneurship research, we
invite manuscripts that are from various scholarly domains including, but not limited to
economics, finance, international business, marketing, organizational behavior, psychology,
sociology, and strategy, to name a few. We encourage manuscripts that go across markets
and industries, and take a global perspective. We further welcome diversified methods
(qualitative or quantitative or mixed), including comparative history analysis and case study
to enrich our understanding of social innovation in the interconnected world.
Suggested topics and research questions
(1) Social Innovators –
a. What are the motivations or inspirations driving social innovators?
b. How do entrepreneurs or innovators think about the social aspect of product
c. What are the motivations for firms from developed economies to apply social
innovation in emerging economies?
d. What are the social innovation relationships or governance structures among different
stakeholders (e.g., governments, NGOs, foreign/global funds, suppliers, customers)?
e. How do social innovators overcome the resource constraint and institutional barriers?
(2) Social Innovations –
a. What concept(s) or theory(ies) are needed to explain social innovation?
b. How is social innovation different from inclusive innovations, responsible innovations,
frugal innovations, sustainable innovation, etc.?
c. What processes and mechanisms can be employed for social innovation?
d. What are different strategy, marketing, sales, or supply chains in social innovation?
(3) Social Innovation Context –
a. What does the ecosystem and infrastructure for social innovation look like?
b. What are social innovation’s environmental, social, and economic impacts, and are
those impacts constructive or destructive?
c. How do social innovators interact with their ecosystems?
d. How do new technologies, social networks, and institutional environments affect social
innovators and their new breeds of innovations?
e. How do B-corp equity, crowdfunding, impactor investment or new funding sources
support social innovation?
(4) Social Impacts –
a. How do we measure the performance and impacts of social innovation?
b. How do players other than end users in the market such as international agencies
(e.g., United Nations), local governments, NGOs, benefit from social innovations?
c. Is there any cost of social innovation? How do we balance the cost and benefits of
(5) Interconnected, Global Aspects to Social Innovation –
a. How do social innovators work across market and industry boundaries?
b. How do social innovations cross market boundaries?
c. How do the different social innovation contexts across the globe enhance or challenge
social innovation efforts?
d. How can the social impact be measured across market boundaries and on a global
scale? Do costs and benefits accrue differentially across markets of a social innovation?
Review Process Timeline
Call for papers announcement: February 10, 2017
Submission due date: December 17, 2017 (extended deadline)
First round decisions: March 1, 2018
Special issue conference and paper development workshop: July 14-15, 2018
First revision due date: August 1, 2018
Second round decisions: November 1, 2018
Second revision due date: February 1, 2019
Third round decisions: April 1, 2019
Final editorial decisions: June 15, 2019
Submission Process Details
Submissions to the special issue should be sent electronically through the JPIM ScholarOne
System (http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/jpim). Authors need to clearly indicate in their
submission information and letter that their manuscript is for the Special Issue on “Social
innovation in an interconnected world.” All submissions will be subject to a double blind
review process followed by JPIM. All manuscripts must be original, unpublished works that
are not concurrently under review for publication elsewhere. All submissions should
conform to the JPIM manuscript submission guidelines available at
5885/homepage/ForAuthors.html. Questions about this special issue may be directed to any
of the guest editors.
Statement of Ad Hoc, Editorial Review Board and Book and/or Journal Editorial Experience
for All Guest Editors
Ruby P. Lee is Professor of Marketing and Director of International Programs at the College
of Business, Florida State University. She is also named Fulbright-Hanken Distinguished
Chair in Business and Economics and awarded to visit Hanken School of Economics, Finland
in 2016-17. Her work has been published in the Journal of Marketing, Journal of Product
Innovation Management, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Decision Sciences,
Marketing Letters, Journal of World Business, Journal of International Marketing, among
others. In addition, Ruby is on the editorial boards of multiple journals such as Journal of
Product Innovation Management, Journal of World Business, Journal of International
Marketing, and Industrial Marketing Management. In 2014-15, she served as the chief
guest editor of Industry Marketing Management’s special issue on “Innovation in and from
Jelena Spanjol is Professor at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (Munich,
Germany), where she heads the Institute for Innovation Management. Before joining LMU
Munich, she served on the faculties of the University of Illinois at Chicago and Texas A&M
University. Jelena’s research has been recognized with several awards and grants, and she
is currently a Strategic Management Society (SMS) SRF Scholar. Her research has been
published in the Journal of Marketing, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Journal of
the Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Service Research, Marketing Letters, Journal
of Business Ethics, Creativity & Innovation Management, Journal of Public Policy &
Marketing, Health Psychology, and in various book chapters. Jelena is an editorial board
member at the Journal of Product Innovation Management and Creativity & Innovation
Management and is currently co-editing a book (with Abbie Griffin and Sebastian Gurtner)
on Leveraging Constraints for Innovation – the 3rd volume of the PDMA Essentials series.
Sunny Li Sun is Associate Professor of Marketing, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation at the
Manning School of Business, University of Massachusetts, Lowell. He received his PhD from
the University of Texas at Dallas in 2010. His work has appeared in journals such as
Strategic Management Journal, Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of
Management Studies, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Industrial Marketing
Management, Journal of World Business, and Academy of Management Perspectives. In
addition, Dr. Sun serves on the editorial review boards of multiple journals including Asia
Pacific Journal of Management and Quarterly Journal of Management. He has been an ad
hoc reviewer for other journals such as Journal of Academy of Management Journal,
Organization Science, Organization Studies, California Management Review, Journal of
Corporate Finance, Industrial Marketing Management, Journal of Business Research, and
Journal of Product Innovation Management. He served as the chief guest editor of Asia
Pacific Journal of Management’s special issue on “Institutions and Entrepreneurship in
Bo Zou is Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the School of
Management at Harbin Institute of Technology. He received his PhD from Harbin Institute of
Technology in 2009. He was a visiting scholar at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in
2014-2015. He has published 37 papers in Chinese and English journal, such as Industrial
Management & Data Systems and Neurocomputing.
References Related to Motivation and Focus
Cajaiba-Santana, G. 2014. Social innovation: Moving the field forward. A conceptual
framework. Technological Forecasting and Social Change 82(1), 42-51.
Dutta, S., Lanvin, B. and Wunsch-Vincent, S. 2015. The Global Innovation Index 2015:
Effective Innovation Policies for Development. World Intellectual Property Organization,
Lee, R. P., Özsomer, A., and Zhou, K. Z. 2015. Introduction to the special issue on
“Innovation in and from Emerging Economies. Industrial Marketing Management 50
Marquis, C. and Park, A. 2014. Inside the buy-one give-one model. Stanford Social
Innovation Review 12(1), 28-33.
Murray, R., Caulier-Grice, J. and Mulgan, G. 2010. The open book of social innovation.
London: The Young Foundation and Nesta.
Phills, J.A., Deiglmeier, K. and Miller, D.T. 2008. Rediscovering social innovation. Stanford
social innovation review 6(4), 34-43.
Prahalad, C. K. 2004. The fortune at the bottom of the pyramid. NJ: Wharton School
Radjou, N. and Prabhu, J. 2015. Frugal innovation: How to do more with less. The
Stilgoe, J., Owen, R. and Macnaghten, P. 2013. Developing a framework for responsible
innovation, Research Policy, 42 (9), 1568-1580.
Subramaniam, M., Ernst, H., & Dubiel A. 2015. From the special issue editors: Innovations
for and from Emerging Markets. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 32 (1), 5-11.
Sun, S. L. and Im, J. 2015. Cutting microfinance interest rates: An opportunity co-creation
perspective. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 39(1), 101-128.
Sun, S. L. and Lee, R. P. 2013. Enhancing innovation through international joint venture
portfolios: From the emerging firm perspective. Journal of International Marketing, 21(3),
Varadarajan, R. 2014. Toward sustainability: public policy, global social innovations for base-
of-the-pyramid markets, and demarketing for a better world. Journal of International
Marketing, 22 (2), 1-20.
Varadarajan, R. 2017. Innovating for sustainability: a framework for sustainable innovations
and a model of sustainable innovations orientation. Journal of The Academy of Marketing
Science, 45(1), 14-36
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