Journal of Product Innovation Management (JPIM)
Call for Papers
Special Issue: Social Innovation in an Interconnected World
Guest Editors
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 
( 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 
social innovation?
(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 (  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 
Emerging Economies.”  

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 
Emerging Economies.”

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, 
Geneva, Switzerland.
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 
(October), 16-17.
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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