Special issue call for papers: ‘Green innovation’ – connecting governance, practices and outcomes


The International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation
SAGE Journals – ISSN: 14657503; eISSN: 20436882 (published quarterly)

Guest Editors:

Richard Blundel
The Open University, UK

David Smith
Nottingham Trent University, UK

Rob Ackrill
Nottingham Trent University, UK

Anja Schaefer
The Open University, UK

Introducing the Special Issue

‘It is only by being specific about which aspects of governance tend to constrain rather than enable sustainable changes that we can better communicate what needs to change, and what the solutions should be, in ways that are tangible to elite and wider audiences.’ (Kuzemko et al., 2016: 104).

This Special Issue builds on the core themes and outcomes of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) seminar series, ‘Green Innovation: Making it Work’ (2015-17), which was co-organised by Nottingham Trent University and The Open University.  During the planning stages, we adopted the deliberately broad and populist term ‘green innovation’ (Schiederig et al., 2012), to signal our intention to create a forum for the interchange of ideas and research findings between academics from different disciplines and institutions, and sustainability practitioners. Over the course of six seminars we examined many types of pro-environmental innovation, with a particular focus on the factors that constrain and facilitate their practical application. One of our key aims was to promote a deeper understanding of the institutional and infrastructural changes required in order to achieve the transition to a more sustainable, low carbon economy.  One of the main themes to emerge from contributors to the series has been the importance of making connections between institutional governance (including rules and regulations), the practices of actors within a particular domain (including incumbents and new entrants), and the outcomes achieved in terms of economic, social and environmental sustainability (Foxon and Pearson, 2008; Geels et al., 2016; Kuzemko et al., 2016).

Building on these contributions, we are keen to showcase rigorous interdisciplinary research that draws on relevant explanatory frameworks and concepts (e.g. institutional theory, socio-technical transitions, dynamic capabilities, inclusive innovation), to examine these connections in greater detail.

In order to reflect its focus on practical application, papers submitted to this Special Issue should incorporate some empirical research, such as case-based evidence of various kinds (e.g. expert interviews, analysis of secondary data).  We hope to feature a range of social and/or technological innovations that promote more environmentally sustainable outcomes.  Studies can be located in both developed and developing economies.  In the spirit of the seminar series we would particularly encourage practitioner-researcher collaborations, given their capacity to combine rich contextual insights with critical, theory-based analysis.  Furthermore, while the seminar series and the Special Issue have a shared interest in examining the preconditions for successful innovation, we also recognise that it is important to avoid overly-reductive ‘hero stories’ that do not also acknowledge complexities and setbacks, or indicate where there is scope for further learning (Wilson, 2012).

Research topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Emerging business models (Boons and Lüdeke-Freund, 2013) and strategies that have an explicit aim of fostering pro-environmental innovation, both within and across different industry sectors.
  • Cross-sector collaborative green innovation initiatives (e.g. Smart Cities) that attempt to address socio-technical, political and regulatory obstacles at a national, regional or international scale.
  • Innovations associated with the energy sector, including various aspects of both energy supply (e.g. biofuels, tidal barrages, storage) and energy demand (e.g. eco-renovation).
  • Innovations associated with sustainable mobility in the widest sense, including technology-based innovations (e.g. low emission vehicles) and social innovations designed to promote behaviour change (e.g. home-working).
  • Comparisons between different types of innovation and their relative impact in achieving sustainability goals (e.g. ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’; incremental and radical; sustaining and disruptive).
  • Comparisons between innovations operating at different spatial scales (e.g. city/local, regional, national, international and global).
  • In-depth examination of the experiences of key actors engaged in green innovations, including policy-makers, technical specialists, entrepreneurs and consumers.
  • Analysis of the efforts to introduce green innovations ‘against the grain’ (e.g. in the face of economic instability, political retrenchment, socio-cultural resistance).

Research articles should be in the region of 6,000 – 8,000 words, including tables and references. In addition to these articles, we will be selecting one teaching case study (with questions) of no more than 5,000 words (e.g. Smith, 2016), and approximately three book reviews (up to 750 words) related to the special issue theme.  It is essential that submitted manuscripts follow SAGE style guidelines and that bibliographies are both complete and in the specified format.  Please check the submission guidelines on the journal’s home page before submitting your paper as any incorrectly formatted manuscripts will be returned to the authors:  https://uk.sagepub.com/en-gb/eur/international-journal-of-entrepreneurship-and-innovation/journal202559

The Guest Editors can be contacted by email at: richard.blundel@open.ac.uk; david.smith02@ntu.ac.uk; rob.ackrill@ntu.ac.uk; or anja.schaefer@open.ac.uk

To download further information please click here.


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