Luca Gastaldi, Associate Professor, Politecnico di Milano
Jeannette Visser-Groeneveld, Executive Secretary CINet, University of Twente
Harry Boer, Professor of Aalborg University
On 20-22 September 2020, the 21st CINet Conference on Practicing Continuous Innovation in Digital Ecosystems was held. The conference was preceded by the 20th CINet PhD workshop.
The event was hosted by the School of Management of Politecnico di Milano (Luca Gastaldi, Mariano Corso, Daniel Trabucchi, Stefano Magistretti and Rosella Onofrio) but took place virtually, due to the Corona pandemic.
The PhD workshop attracted 16 students from six different countries, who presented and discussed their research designs and early findings. Reflecting current hot topics in industry and science, the studies discussed included digital technologies, maturity and transformation, business model innovation, and digital platforms.
In the conference, the same topics were on the top of the agenda. In total, the 110 attendants from 16 countries worldwide, presented twelve papers on Value Creation in Digital Ecosystems, and an additional four papers on (Innovation in) Ecosystems. Other popular topics included Design Thinking and Continuous Innovation (eight papers), Innovation through Digitalization (eleven papers), and Healthcare Innovation (four papers). Furthermore, considering emerging societal issues in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, a special session was held on Innovation and Resilience, aimed at stimulating new research avenues and knowledge on how innovation management approaches are interlinked with resilience in organizations and how resilience can become a focal aspect in these approaches and innovation outcomes
Keynote addresses were delivered by Professor Wim Vanhaverbeke (Surrey Business School, United Kingdom) who spoke on Digital Technologies and the Role of Innovation Ecosystem Management: Examples from Agriculture and Healthcare, and Professor Roberto Verganti (Politecnico di Milano, Italy and Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden), who shared his thoughts on Data and Platforms in the New Normal.
Having an entirely virtual conference cum workshop was an entirely new experience for all participants. The digital platform created by Luca Gastaldi and his team functioned perfectly, without any glitch. The conference program was fully navigable, and gave direct access to the session rooms, the plenary rooms, and the papers collected in the conference proceedings. Attendance to the sessions was quite comparable to that of “normal”, physical, conference and the same held for the interactions between the participants.
All in all, a very and, perhaps, unexpectedly, good experience. Yet, many participants agreed that going virtual can be done quite effectively and provide a good climate for presentations and discussions, but does not exceed the benefits of face-to-face interactions. Hopefully, the 22nd CINet Conference in Gothenburg, Sweden, 12-14 September 2021 brings us back to the old “normal”.