Journal of Product Innovation Management
Special Issue Call for Papers:
“Responsible New Product Development and Innovation Management”
*Submission deadline: May 31, 2024*
Minu Kumar, San Francisco State University (email@example.com),
Ian Sinapuelas, San Francisco State University (firstname.lastname@example.org),
Phil Macnaghten, Wageningen University and Research (email@example.com),
Chenwei Li, San Francisco State University (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Special Issue Motivation and Focus
New Product Development (NPD) is a key facet of value creation and is critical to the long-term survival of firms (Artz et al., 2010). The heterogeneity of industry types and contexts for innovation necessitates that NPD processes be conceptualized and used in innovative ways. At a macro-level, NPD, as currently practiced, has provided a great variety of goods and services that have improved the quality of life of millions worldwide (Samli, 2011).
Despite the aforementioned benefits, there are some areas of concern surrounding undesirable effects of the products resulting from innovation processes. NPD processes commonly have been portrayed as systematic ways of creating value for various stakeholders (Van Beers and Zand, 2014). NPD processes also require that innovators reflexively and systematically address questions concerning their anticipated and unanticipated impacts on society. These include: who are we creating value for? Whose perspectives should we include in the innovation process? How do we create value? How do we balance the risks and benefits of technologies from the perspective of different stakeholders? What about unforeseen effects? Could these have been anticipated at an earlier stage? And if so, how? Questions concerning the balancing risks and benefits often lead to broader governance issues of new and emerging technologies that appear to creating more harm than benefits in a wide variety of industries: in finance (e.g., Robinhood and Alexander Kearns’s death), pharmaceuticals (e.g., Oxycontin, and millions of deaths related to opioid overdoses), dating products (Ashley Madison and its effects on marriages), social media (Facebook and the spread of COVID misinformation), and smoking cessation products (Juul and its targeted development of products for teens). In several of these examples, the firms involved were subject to expensive lawsuits, bankruptcies, loss of jobs, harm to consumers, communities, and society. Answering the questions posed earlier requires looking at NPD processes as more than creating technical features of goods & services, achieving compliance requirements, or considering ethical aspects in decision-making. While traditional NPD approaches such as stage-gate, agile, and design thinking may be sufficient to address the needs of primary stakeholders (e.g., the target market and the sponsoring firm) at the micro level, they may not be effective in anticipating and mitigating adverse effects on other stakeholders at the meso and macro levels (e.g., non-users or unintended users, society, and natural environment) in the long run and with increasing scale.
These issues are not entirely new; multiple academic research streams already focus on reimagining innovation’s impacts at the macro (e.g., social innovation, sustainable innovation), meso, or micro (e.g., participatory design, care ethics, stakeholders participation) levels separately. However, there is a need for a framework that considers explicitly current and future impacts and novel ways to align innovation with and for society. Responsible Innovation (RI) defined as “taking care of the future through collective stewardship of science and innovation in the present” (Stilgoe et al., 2013) presents one such opportunity. RI innovation rests on four pillars: inclusion, anticipation, reflexivity, and responsiveness. These pillars also capture RI’s emphasis on communication and two-way engagement amongst multiple stakeholders beyond target users, building institutional capacities aimed at anticipating and reflecting on potential harms and benefits, and directing innovation towards profit generation for the firm while simultaneously achieving societal goals. Such discussions require examining the norms, logic, values, and ethics of individuals and of the innovating firm while being responsive to the changing environment.
The extant body of research on RI has focused predominantly on publicly-funded scientific research (e.g., nanotechnology, generative artificial intelligence, biotechnology, self-driving automobiles) and public policy (see for example Stilgoe et al., 2013). The need for incorporating responsible innovation thinking in the business setting is increasing (Lubberink et. al, 2017), but this topic remains underdeveloped in JPIM and more generally in the field of innovation management. The emergence of RI task force or departments in large companies (e.g., Google, Facebook, Salesforce among others) suggests that academic research in the management sciences needs to catch up with practitioners. A search of the keywords, titles, and abstract of the Journal of Product Innovation Management (JPIM) for the terms “responsible innovation” for the last 20 years yielded two results (Lehoux et al., 2021; Liu et al., 2022). Topics related to RI enjoy greater discussion; there are 35 articles on topics such as environmental sustainability, social innovation, privacy, and diversity or inclusion.
Even textbooks for product development (e.g., Crawford and DiBenedetto, 2008; Ulrich et al. 2008) dedicate a chapter or two to the liabilities and regulations associated with product development and packaging, yet they fail to provide responsible innovation thinking during the NPD process. More importantly, a framework encompassing all these concerns remains elusive.
There are also concerns about the application of RI to business, which require further exploration. The concept of RI and the associated stream of literature originated in the area of basic technology development, where stakeholders and motivations differ qualitatively compared to industry-based commercial applications. Basic technology development, often supported by government funding, is not solely driven by profit motives and shareholder expectations. Therefore, it is necessary to contextualize the RI framework in commercializing new technologies to address the unique considerations and challenges that arise in profit-driven industries.
Focus of the special issue
As a response to recent calls in the JPIM community (Rindfleisch et al., 2020), the goal of this special issue is to help researchers and practitioners better understand how RI can be better understood and practiced during the processes of NPD and Innovation Management. We hope that such applications can help NPD and innovation managers develop capabilities to avoid the phenomenon of organized irresponsibility (Beck, 2000). In order to do so, this special issue calls for theoretical and empirical papers specifically focused on incorporating RI and its pillars (anticipation, reflexivity, inclusion, and responsiveness) into the NPD processes. There are several issues and related questions to focus on:
• While RI has been conceptualized as a framework aimed at addressing questions related
to the purpose, process, and products of innovation (Stahl et al., 2017; Stilgoe et al., 2013; von Schomberg, 2013), in-depth investigations in the corporate domain are lacking. This special issue aims to investigate the key question: What are firms’ current understanding of and engagement with (de facto) responsible innovation?
• RI requires several modifications to current innovation practices (Stahl et al., 2017), yet most research focuses on ethical considerations with little regard for its impact on performance (Liu et al., 2022). The pillars of RI build on current practices of future-oriented governance studied in science and technology studies (e.g., Cuhls, 2020), technology assessment (e.g., Palm and Hansson, 2006), care design (Hamington, 2019), etc. However, a broader framework that brings together these disparate streams is lacking. In this realm, we hope to investigate: How are the most responsible firms configuring responsibility and embedding the concept into NPD practice? Does RI influence decision-making during the various stages of the NPD process? What pillars of RI are incorporated into the NPD and Innovation Management processes?
• Recent research shows that RI firms can be conceptualized as hybrid firms (Liu et al., 2022), yet a range of alternative hybrid forms exist and have different competencies (Vasallo et al., 2019). What types of business model designs, firm capabilities, and cultural considerations foster RI in NPD? Are there differences in RI when applied in the for-profit and not-for-profit realms
• Building on organizational theory, Owen et al. (2021) identify the need to understand the organizational factors influencing the dynamics of RI institutionalization, including forces of legitimation, entrepreneurship and decoupling. Analyzing the take-up of RI in particular forms, what effective and inspirational leadership is necessary to adopt responsible innovation. What types of leadership skills, mindsets, and boundary-spanning activities are used to foster responsible innovation? What strategies do leaders employ to balance the tensions between profitability and responsible innovation? How do leaders empower and support NPD teams to embrace RI in their daily work?
• Recent research has called for the need to reassess innovation-driven business models and, in particular, their reliance on the pursuit of endless growth. Can the uptake of RI contribute to alternative business models predicated on sustainability and enabling equitable and just societies? What do organizations look like in a different paradigm? And under what conditions do such organizations flourish?
Papers are encouraged to concentrate on but not be limited to the key questions listed above. Given that the concept of RI originated from outside of the Innovation Management field, and in keeping with the truly interdisciplinary nature of JPIM, we welcome submissions from a wide variety of fields (Management, Marketing, Engineering Management, Information Systems, Sociology, Anthropology, Science & Technology Studies, etc.) whose contributions inform business and industry practices. Additionally, we welcome both conceptual and empirical submissions that create more ecological value throughout the manuscript (Van Heerde et al., 2021). This approach, we think, will help practitioner readers of JPIM benefit more from this special issue and create more relevance for the journal.
Review process timeline
Call for Papers announcement June, 2023
Paper proposal deadline (optional) February 19, 2024
Paper proposal decisions (if applicable) March 18, 2024
Submission deadline (full paper) May 31, 2024
First round decisions September 30, 2024
Special Issue Associated Responsible Innovation Conference (for authors with invited revisions) March 22, 2025
First round revision due April 7, 2025
Second round decisions June 30, 2025
Second round revision due October 27, 2025
Final editorial decisions December 29, 2025
Anticipated publication Summer 2026
Artz, Kendall W., Patricia M. Norman, Donald E. Hatfield, and Laura B. Cardinal. "A longitudinal study of the impact of R&D, patents, and product innovation on firm performance." Journal of product innovation management 27, no. 5 (2010): 725-740.
Beck, U. "Risk Society Revisited. Theory Politics and Research, edited by B. Adam, U. Beck and J. van Loon." (2000).
Cuhls, Kerstin E. "Horizon Scanning in Foresight–Why Horizon Scanning is only a part of the game." Futures & Foresight Science 2, no. 1 (2020): e23.
Crawford, M. and A. Di Benedetto. New Products Management, 9th edn, New York, McGrawHill, 2008.
Hamington, Maurice. "Integrating care ethics and design thinking." Journal of Business Ethics 155, no. 1 (2019): 91-103.
Lehoux, Pascale, Hudson P. Silva, Jean‐Louis Denis, Fiona A. Miller, Renata Pozelli Sabio, and Marguerite Mendell. "Moving toward responsible value creation: Business model challenges faced by organizations producing responsible health innovations." Journal of Product Innovation Management 38, no. 5 (2021): 548-573.
Linton, Jonathan D., and Narongsak Thongpapanl. "Perspective: Ranking the technology innovation management journals." Journal of Product Innovation Management 21, no. 2 (2004): 123-139.
Liu, Yipeng, Yijun Xing, Ferran Vendrell-Herrero, and Oscar F. Bustinza. "Setting contextual conditions to resolve grand challenges through responsible innovation: A comparative patent analysis in the circular economy." Journal of Product Innovation Management (2022).
Lubberink, Rob, Vincent Blok, Johan van Ophem, and Onno Omta. "A framework for responsible innovation in the business context: Lessons from responsible-, social-and sustainable innovation." Responsible Innovation 3: A European Agenda? (2017): 181-207.
Owen, Richard, Mario Pansera, Phil Macnaghten, and Sally Randles. "Organisational institutionalisation of responsible innovation." Research Policy 50, no. 1 (2021): 104132.
Palm, Elin, and Sven Ove Hansson. "The case for ethical technology assessment (eTA)." Technological forecasting and social change 73, no. 5 (2006): 543-558.
Rindfleisch, Aric, Ravi Mehta, Vishal Sachdev, and Nadia Danienta. "Innovation research themes for our changing environment: Insights from the 2019 PDMA doctoral consortium." Journal of Product Innovation Management 37, no. 2 (2020): 126-137.
Samli, A. Coskun. From imagination to innovation: New product development for quality of life. Springer Science & Business Media, 2011.
Stahl, Bernd Carsten, Michael Obach, Emad Yaghmaei, Veikko Ikonen, Kate Chatfield, and Alexander Brem. "The responsible research and innovation (RRI) maturity model: Linking theory and practice." Sustainability 9, no. 6 (2017): 1036.
Stilgoe, Jack, Richard Owen, and Phil Macnaghten. "Developing a framework for responsible innovation." Research policy 42, no. 9 (2013): 1568-1580.
Ulrich, Karl T., Steven D. Eppinger, and Maria C. Yang. Product design and development. Vol. 4. Boston: McGraw-Hill higher education, 2008.
Van Beers, Cees, and Fardad Zand. "R&D cooperation, partner diversity, and innovation performance: an empirical analysis." Journal of Product Innovation Management 31, no. 2 (2014): 292-312.
Van Heerde, Harald J., Christine Moorman, C. Page Moreau, and Robert W. Palmatier. "Reality check: Infusing ecological value into academic marketing research." Journal of Marketing 85, no. 2 (2021): 1-13.
Vassallo, Jarrod P., Jaideep C. Prabhu, Sourindra Banerjee, and Ranjit Voola. "The role of hybrid organizations in scaling social innovations in bottom‐of‐the‐pyramid markets: Insights from microfinance in India." Journal of Product Innovation Management 36, no. 6 (2019): 744-763.
Von Schomberg, Rene. "A vision of responsible research and innovation." Responsible innovation: Managing the responsible emergence of science and innovation in society (2013): 51-74.
Guest editor bios
Minu Kumar is a Professor of Marketing and the Founder-Director of the Responsible Innovation and Entrepreneurship (RI&E) Research Initiative at San Francisco State University. He also serves as the Associate Editor of the Journal of Product Innovation Management. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from the Government College of Pharmacy (Bangalore University, 1996), a Master in Business Administration (Concentration in Pharmaceutical Marketing, 2002), and a Ph.D. in Marketing (minor: pharmaceutical marketing, 2008) from the University of Mississippi. His primary scholarly interest lies in the area of Innovation, New Product Design & Development, and Entrepreneurship. Professor Kumar has published in journals such as the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Consumer Psychology, International Journal of Research in Marketing, Journal of Product Innovation Management among others. He has also worked for or consulted with firms such as Barilla, SAP, Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals, Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals, Schering Plough Pharmaceuticals, Medtronic, Glaxo Smithkline, among others on product design & development, sales, and marketing projects.
Ian Sinapuelas is a Professor of Marketing and the Associate Director of Research for the RI&E Research Initiative at San Francisco State University. Ian was awarded a Ph.D. in marketing from Purdue University in May 2007. Professor Sinapuelas has published in journals such as the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Consumer Marketing, and Journal of Product and Brand Management among others. His teaching experience includes MBA-level marketing management at the German International Graduate School of Management and Administration in Hanover, Germany, as well as several business courses during his time at
Phil Macnaghten is Professor at the Knowledge, Technology and Innovation (KTI) Group at
Wageningen University in the Netherlands. His PhD is from Exeter and he has held appointments at Lancaster, Durham and Campinas before joining Wageningen in 2015. His
research background is in science and technology studies (STS) and sociology. Over the last 10 years, he has published >30 peer-reviewed journal articles in journals such as Nature, Nature Energy, Research Policy, Science & Public Policy among others. With colleagues Richard Owen and Jack Stilgoe, Phil has been central to the conception, development, diffusion, and institutionalisation of the discourse of responsible innovation internationally, playing formative roles in the development of the UK research council EPSRC framework, in monitoring and evaluating its diffusion across research projects and programs, and in its development both in Brazil and mainland Europe. He is on the editorial board of the Journal of Responsible Innovation and is the editor of the journal Plants, People, Planet.
Chenwei Li is an Associate Professor of Management and the Associate Director of Engagement for the RI&E Research Initiative at San Francisco State University. Previously, she served on the faculty of the Doermer School of Business at Purdue University Fort Wayne for three years. Chenwei received her Ph.D. with a concentration in Organizational Behavior from the University of Alabama. Her primary research interests focus on leadership, employee voice, and team creativity. Her work has been published in the management field’s premier journals, such as the Journal of Management, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Journal of Business Ethics, and Human Resource Management Journal, among others. Chenwei received the 2020 Ascendant Scholar Award from the Western Academy of Management and was recognized as the 2021-2023 Lam-Larsen distinguished research professor at Lam Family College of Business. She serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Business Ethics and Management and organization review. Chenwei teaches Leadership and Influence Skills and Human Resource Management courses for MBA and undergraduate programs. She has also led leadership training workshops for managers of different levels in various companies and cultural settings.