Special Issue "Digitalization, Innovation and Sustainability"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Thijs L.J. Broekhuizen
Guest Editor
Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Groningen, 9712 CP Groningen, The Netherlands
Interests: sustainability; digitalization; innovation; disruption
Prof. David J. Langley
Guest Editor
Strategic Analysis and Policy (Strategic Business Analysis), TNO, 9701 BK Groningen, The Netherlands; Faculty of Economic and Business, University of Groningen, 9712 CP Groningen, The Netherlands
Interests: digital innovations; circular economy

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

Digital technologies, such as social media, the internet of things, data analytics, blockchain, 3D printing, robotics and artificial intelligence, are the basis for vast numbers of product, service, process and business model innovations that bring about significant transitions in the ways that industries, organizations and people behave. It is no exaggeration to state that these technologies (and the corresponding growth of digital data and analytical techniques) are transforming economies, societies and our relationship with the natural world. However, as these innovations increasingly pervade every aspect of our daily lives, we urgently need research that explores and explains digitalization, how it drives innovation, and what the effects are on sustainability. This Special Issue seeks to advance the scholarly understanding of how digitalization, innovation and sustainability are intertwined; highlight insightful examples of best and worst practices; and provide theoretically and empirically grounded recommendations for improving implementation and impact.

The focus of this Special Issue is the interrelationships between digitalization, innovation and sustainability. The topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Sustainable digital technologies that reduce the negative environmental impact of products during production, distribution and use;
  • Sustainability-enhancing digital innovations that reduce the negative environmental impact of other products and processes;
  • Data-driven providence and the tracking of materials through supply chains;
  • Digital and innovative solutions for enabling sustainability impact assessment;
  • Digitalization as a driver of more eco-friendly and new sustainable business models (servitization, product as a service, peer sharing, zero waste, etc.);
  • The development of business models in digitalized ecosystems of multiple stakeholders where value is co-created and multiple value components are shared;
  • Innovation management processes (both digitally enabled and non-digital) and theories to enhance sustainability;
  • The role of digital innovations in hybrid organizational and ecosystem strategies (i.e., aimed at both financial and ecological benefit for the firm and ecosystem).

We address this call for papers to a wide range of academic disciplines with a shared interest in advancing our understanding of digital innovations and sustainability, including strategic management, innovation and organization, business ethics, entrepreneurship, information systems and more. We are particularly open to submissions that adopt an interdisciplinary approach. We encourage the submission of ground-breaking empirical studies and conceptual manuscripts that are well-grounded in academic literature. Of particular interest are submissions using forward-looking approaches, including design science, simulations and thought experiments.

Prof. Dr. Thijs L.J. Broekhuizen
Prof. David J. Langley
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • digitalization
  • digital innovation
  • big data
  • data analytics
  • artificial intelligence
  • internet of things
  • blockchain
  • robotics
  • innovation
  • industry transition
  • digital transformation
  • behavioral change
  • ecological impact
  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
Back to TopTop