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Message posted on 03/01/2018

CfP track on Responsible Innovation in Chains and Networks, July 2-4 Ancona (Italy)

                13th WICaNeM conference 2018 on Chain and Network Management

Ancona, Italy | July 2 - 4, 2018

Special Track on Responsible Innovation in Chains and Networks

Deadline for Abstracts 15-01-18

Track Coordinators:
Vincent Blok (Wageningen University, The Netherlands)
Edurne A. Inigo (Wageningen University, The Netherlands)

Responsible Innovation is an emerging concept to balance economic,
socio-cultural and environmental aspects in innovation processes (European
Commission 2011). Because technological innovations can contribute
significantly to the solution of societal challenges like climate change or
the aging of people, but can also have negative societal consequences, it is
assumed that social and ethical aspects should be considered during the
innovation process. By involving multiple stakeholders in innovation processes
at an early stage, "societal actors and innovators become mutually responsive
to each other with a view to the (ethical) acceptability, sustainability and
societal desirability of the innovation process and its marketable products"
(von Schomberg 2013: 63). The consideration of ethical and social aspects
during innovation processes will lead not only to technological innovations
which are socially acceptable but also socially desirable (cf. Matter 2011).
The concept of responsible innovation expresses the ambition to address
societal needs, next to the more traditional objectives of innovation like
economic growth, profit maximization, competitive advantage etc.
Because the concept of responsible innovation is relatively new and still
evolving in different directions (cf. Owen et al. 2013; van den Hoven et al.
2013), there are several under-researched areas in general, and with regard to
chains and networks in particular. Till now, responsible innovation in the
private sector is still under-researched (Blok & Lemmens, 2015; Lubberink et
al. 2017; Timmermans, 2017). To what extend it the concept of RI applicable in
the business context? What are the drivers and barriers of industrial
responsible innovation practices? (Blok, Hoffmans and Wubben 2015; Garst et
al. 2017)? In the context of the WICaNeM conference on chain and network
management, the following research areas are of special interest:

1. Till now, most research is done from a policy or socio-ethical
perspective and focusing on academic R&D environments, while most innovations
take place in commercial or industrial settings (cf. Flipse 2012). It is
precisely corporate innovation, which is underrepresented in current research
on responsible innovation (cf. Blok and Lemmens, 2015; Blok, Hoffmans and
Wubben, 2015; Lubberink et al. 2017).

2. Nowadays, it is widely acknowledged that only a few firms have all
resources and networks available to innovate in isolation. Most firms innovate
in networks and/or together with their supply chain partners. This raises the
question how collaborating firms share the responsibility for the innovation
they work on. It is precisely innovation in chains and networks, which is
underrepresented in current research on responsible innovation.

3. The system in which innovation processes are embedded affects their
development. There are structural, market, regulatory or financial factors
that are external to the responsible innovation process and yet hinder or
enhance it (Long et al., 2016). This raises the question on how these system
factors influence responsible innovation practices, and more particularly, how
these can be shaped to overcome existing barriers in chains and networks.

4. Although all industries and sectors can be involved in responsible
innovation, sector specific differences are not taken into account in current
research and some sectors are underrepresented. It is precisely the agri-food
sector, which is underrepresented in current research on responsible
innovation. Nanotechnology and ICT for instance are fields of research which
are often mentioned in the responsible innovation literature, but in
biotechnology, medical technology and food technology we observe similar
issues concerning health and/or privacy. Insights from several industries and
sectors can help to develop a better conceptualization of responsible
innovation and to distinguish sector-specific characteristics of its

5. Through the concept of responsible innovation, the focus of innovation
processes shifts towards societal challenges. These are converted into
business opportunities to create new concepts, business models and ways of
operating, as well as more efficient approaches to resource exploitation and
energy consumption. These opportunities require a different approach to
problem solving which diverts significantly from the way we think about
solutions, technologies and applications today. The question is to what extent
SMEs and start-ups can benefit from these opportunities for responsible
innovation, assuming that they are not constrained by a dominant logic,
existing heuristics and current practices to problem solving (Scholten and vd
Duin, 2015).

Given the importance of the emerging field of responsible innovation in the
chains and networks, this call for papers aims to deepen management scholars'
and practitioners' understanding of how networks and chains can effectively be
involved in responsible innovation processes. Therefore, we encourage
submission of papers that tackle a broad range of questions, including (but
not limited to) the aforementioned areas of special interest. Both empirical
and conceptual papers are welcome and we strongly encourage multi-disciplinary
submissions in areas such as management, finance, accounting, supply chain,
public administration and policy, marketing, organizational behaviour,
communication, education, development, sociology and psychology among others.
To ensure consideration for this WICaNeM track session, please submit your
1000 words abstract to by
January 15th 2018. Each abstract must contain the following: Cover Page;
Problem Statement; Objectives; Procedures/methodologies/approaches; Results;
Conclusions; References and Authors' preferences for presentation as a paper
or poster. Submissions will undergo a double blind peer review. Conditional to
acceptance, authors will be invited to submit a full paper by March 1st, 2018.
The best scientific papers, associated with paper presentations, will be
invited to participate to the Best Paper Award competition and may be selected
for publication in the International Food and Agribusiness Management Review
(IFAMR). For further questions and remarks, please feel free to contact the
track coordinators Vincent Blok
( and Edurne Inigo


Blok, V., Lemmens, P. (2015) "The Emerging Concept of Responsible Innovation.
Three Reasons why it is Questionable and Calls for a Radical Transformation of
the Concept of Innovation". In: Koops, van den Hoven, Romijn, Swierstra,
Oosterlaken (ed.), Responsible Innovation 2: Concepts, Approaches, and
Applications (Dordrecht: Springer): 19-35 (DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-17308-5_2).

Blok, V., Hoffmans, L., Wubben, E. (2015), "Stakeholder Engagement for
Responsible Innovation in the Private Sector: Critical Issues and Management
Practices in the Dutch Food Industry", Journal of Chain and Network Science
European Commission (2011) Horizon 2020 - the framework programme for research
and innovation. Brussels
Flipse, S.M. (2012) Enhancing Socially Responsible Innovation in Industry.
Dissertation Delft University
Long, T. B., Blok, V., & Coninx, I. (2016). Barriers to the adoption and
diffusion of technological innovations for climate-smart agriculture in
Europe: evidence from the Netherlands, France, Switzerland and Italy. Journal
of Cleaner Production, 112, Part 1, 9-21.
Garst, J., Blok, V., Jansen, L., Omta, O. (2017). Responsibility versus
Profit: the Motives of Food for Healthy Product Innovation. Sustainability
Lubberink, R., Blok, V., Ophem, J. van, Omta, O. (2017). Lessons for
Responsible Innoation in the Business Context: A systematic Literature Review
of Responsible, Social and Sustainable Innovation Practices. Sustainability
Matter (2011) A Report on responsible Research & Innovation Brussels
Owen, W., Bessant, J., Heintz, M. (ed.)(2013), Responsible Innovation.
Managing the Responsible Emergence of Science and Innovation in Society
Chichester: Wiley

Pless N, Maak T, Waldman D. (2012) Different Approaches Toward Doing the Right
Thing: Mapping the Responsibility Orientations of Leaders. Academy of
Management Perspectives. Vol 26, No 4, p. 51-65.

Scholten, V.E., Duin, P. v.d., 2015 Responsible Innovation among Academic
Spin-offs: How Responsible Practices help developing Absorptive Capacity.
Journal of chain and network sciences (forthcoming).

Timmermans, J. (2017). Mapping the RRI Landscape: An Overview of
Organisations, Projects, Persons, Areas and Topics. In Responsible Innovation
3 (pp. 21-47). Springer, Cham.

Dr. Vincent Blok MBA
Associate Professor in Sustainable Entrepreneurship, Business and Innovation
Ethics, Management Studies Group
Associate Professor in Philosophy of Management, Technology and Innovation,
Philosophy Group

Wageningen University
Management Studies and Philosophy Group
Hollandseweg 1, 6706 KN, Wageningen (Building 201)
De Leeuwenborch, Room 5060
P.O. Box 8130, 6700 EW, Wageningen
T: +31 (0) 317 483623
F: +31 (0) 317 485454
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