Special Issue "Open Innovation for Sustainability: An Urban Perspective"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Urban and Rural Development".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Grazia Concilio
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Guest Editor
Department of Architecture and Urban Studies, Politecnico di Milano, Piazza Leonardo da Vinci 26, 20133 Milano, Italy
Interests: urban innovation for sustainability and transition processes
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Pierpaolo Pontrandolfo
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Guest Editor
Department of Mechanics Mathematics and Management, Polytechnic University of Bari, Bari, Italy
Interests: corporate social responsibility; social innovation
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Dr. Barbara Scozzi
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Guest Editor
Dipartimento di Meccanica, Matematica e Management, Politecnico di Bari, Viale Japigia, 182, 70126 Bari BA, Italy
Interests: business process management; corporate sustainability; coordination and innovation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The global community is challenged by crises of a social, economic, and environmental nature, which invoke actions at different levels and in several directions: individual behaviours, collective practices, rules and norms at any scale, urban and national policies, international cooperation and agreements. Cities are one of the responsible actors for most of the global challenges but, at the same time, they represent a promising opportunity for the future (Amin and Thrift, 2012; Brescia and Marshall, 2016). They are population centres. They are knowledge and networks hubs (Gutzmer, 2016). They serve as first shelters for immigrant families and young professionals alike. They are fertile environments for commerce and innovation (Brescia and Marshall, 2016). From being quite passive participants to global efforts, cities are now asked to strongly contribute to the necessary complex transition towards sustainability.

This is clear in the Agenda 2030 (UN, 2015) Sustainable Development Goal 11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. SDG 11, indeed, sums up the great challenges cities must address in the future. Addressing such challenges requires the development of innovative solutions that, to be technically feasible and socially desirable (Checkland, 1985), as well as environmentally sustainable, would require the active involvement of the diverse urban stakeholders, the adoption of systemic, inter- and trans-disciplinary approaches and the ability, by the municipal and local authorities, to coordinate, manage and support the solution development and implementations processes (e.g., SDSN, 2015). The literature on open innovation (Chesbrough, 2006; Chesbrough and Bogers, 2014; West et al., 2014) could offer the conceptual and theoretical frameworks useful to guide and observe processes of solution development and implementation (e.g., Bellantuono et al., 2017). Such processes (can) take place by adopting different governance models, in which the diverse stakeholders may generate complex, open, and creative ecosystems, wherein innovative solutions are conceived, designed, experimented, implemented and, in some cases, supplied to the market and scaled up. An interesting feature of cities is that some stakeholders (who in general can collaborate even virtually, e.g., through a web platform) involved in the design phase of a sustainability solution actually live/act (in) the city and here are impacted by the innovation output. As a result, open innovation carried out by, for, and within cities may also reinforce the sense of belonging and civic engagement.

Being generative environments of complex and interconnected innovation ecosystems, cities represent a setting wherein the entire open innovation theoretical framework and attendant approaches can be verified and further developed (Almirall et al., 2014). Open innovation has indeed been developed and mainly adopted with reference to the business context, yet cities, as hubs of multilevel and multidisciplinary networks, involve a wider and more complex reality, so representing the melting pots for a rich completion and widening of open innovation.

This Special Issue aims to collect two different kinds of contributions:

  • Articles describing how open innovation models, frameworks and findings can help address sustainability challenges within cities. They may include:
    • Research on a particular city sustainability challenge examined from the perspective of open innovation.
    • Conceptual and theoretical frameworks illustrating how open innovation can contribute to enhance the development of solutions to address sustainable development challenges in cities.
    • Empirical city sustainability research based on quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods, addressing and illustrating the benefits of drawing on open innovation. Cases analysed by adopting a process theory approach (e.g. Langley, 2009) are particularly welcomed.
    • Comparative and analytical studies on urban cases, projects and initiatives responding to sustainable challenges with open innovation approaches.
  • Empirical cases of innovation projects concerning the sustainability of cities, which can provide useful insights into open innovation practices and methodologies. They may include:
    • Urban projects and initiatives that address global sustainability challenges and are able to describe or capture peculiar aspects of open innovation in urban environments. 
    • Specific solutions implemented or experimented in cities, which clearly represent the outputs (products or services) of open innovation processes oriented to global challenges and aiming at shifting towards sustainability.

 

Prof. Grazia Concilio
Prof. Pierpaolo Pontrandolfo
Prof. Barbara Scozzi
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 1800 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.


Keywords

  • Open innovation
  • Sustainable urban development
  • Global challenges
  • Urban innovation ecosystems

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Open Innovation Strategies for Sustainable Urban Living
Sustainability 2019, 11(12), 3310; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11123310 - 15 Jun 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Cities are increasingly seen as having an important role in tackling societal challenges related to climate change, while open innovation is increasingly accepted as a new way of working for governments. In the current work, we explore the role of open innovation to [...] Read more.
Cities are increasingly seen as having an important role in tackling societal challenges related to climate change, while open innovation is increasingly accepted as a new way of working for governments. In the current work, we explore the role of open innovation to tackle global challenges on a city level. In the context of the city of Rotterdam and its vision on sustainability and liveability, seven collaborative initiatives are introduced. These initiatives aim to address both sustainability and liveability goals. Our research shows that in order to have these initiatives contribute to the overall municipal goal on sustainability and liveability, the municipality needs to take different roles. Whereas traditional open innovation literature usually distinguishes three main types of open innovation, namely outside-in, inside-out, and coupled processes, the current study shows that open innovation for sustainability in the city needs a much more fine-grained and elaborate perspective; a multi-level open innovation model that allows for different co-creative partnerships joining forces in sustainability challenges. It can be concluded that governments have a key role in infrastructuring these co-creative partnerships. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Open Innovation for Sustainability: An Urban Perspective)
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Open AccessArticle
Evolving Obligatory Passage Points to Sustain Service Systems: The Case of Traditional Market Revitalization in Hsinchu City, Taiwan
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2540; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072540 - 19 Jul 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
“City” could be viewed as an integration of various service systems with relocated social, economic, and environmental capitals under urbanization. It was evidential in Hsinchu City, Taiwan, where once the biggest market, Dongmen Market (DMM), declined because the replacement of urban consumption patterns [...] Read more.
“City” could be viewed as an integration of various service systems with relocated social, economic, and environmental capitals under urbanization. It was evidential in Hsinchu City, Taiwan, where once the biggest market, Dongmen Market (DMM), declined because the replacement of urban consumption patterns along with the setup of high tech science park bringing new residences. This research took the perspectives of Service-Dominant Logic (S-DL) and Actor Network Theory (ANT) to study the development of new service systems and how they were sustained through the revitalization by a two-year ethnographic study. We explain how stakeholders propose and receive value within and among service systems. A unique actor called obligatory passage point (OPP) was formed in the translation phases of actor networks, delivering the co-created value by stakeholders with different interests. Four identified OPPs indicated that their “evolution process” drove the revitalization of DMM toward a sustainable service system. A framework of open innovation practice was formulated as iterative cycles with four phases: (1) actor interacting; (2) value co-creating; (3) relationship modeling; and (4) OPP transforming, which operationalized the OPP evolution from its destruction to construction. The application of the OPP evolution process to revitalizing urban service systems contributes to practitioners in social innovation to sustain urban service systems in addition to the theoretical formation of OPP evolution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Open Innovation for Sustainability: An Urban Perspective)
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