Call For Papers: Strategic foresight in organisational theory and innovation management

IEEE Transactions on


Special Issue:



Guest Editors (alphabetical order)

Dr Daniel Ehls, Technology and Innovation Management, Hamburg University of Technology;

Dr Adam Gordon, Aarhus Business School, Aarhus University;

Dr Cornelius Herstatt, Technology and Innovation Management, Hamburg University of Technology;

Dr Rene Rohrbeck, Aarhus Business School, Aarhus University;


Strategic foresight is a set of practices that help individuals and organizations to identify superior courses of action and anticipate their consequences (Gavetti and Menon, 2016; Rohrbeck and Kum, 2018). Strategic foresight has been used more than 70 years to anticipate transformational change, and prepare the organization for responding to or for influencing and promoting transformational change in industries and societies (Coates, Durance and Godet, 2010; Rohrbeck, Battistella and Huizingh, 2015). Past research has documented how the use of strategic foresight resulted in creating superior positions in future markets or advance societal goals (Berger, de Bourbon-Busset and Massé, 2008; Andersen and Andersen, 2014; Gavetti and Menon, 2016).

Organizational theory has found a strong appetite for exploring the relationship between organizations and their futures. The dynamic capabilities perspective highlights the necessity to renew and align organizational resources when faced with external changes (Teece, Pisano and Shuen, 1997). The behavioral theory of the firm emphasizes that to create strategies that are markedly different from the status quo, cognitive bounds need to be overcome (Gavetti, 2012). Accordingly, Kaplan and Orlikowski (2013) have recently documented that temporal work, in which strategy teams discuss the past, present and future is key for overcoming strategy breakdowns.

In a related vein, the innovation management and entrepreneurship literature has gained a strong momentum in opening-up and blurring organizational boundaries. Open innovation highlights purposeful knowledge steering from the external environment for value capture (Chesbrough, 2003). The discussion around business models has resonated around the need to make the system that a firm uses to create and appropriate value more fluid over time (Massa, Tucci and Afuah, 2016). User innovation studies nurture insights towards a “need-forecasting-laboratory (von Hippel, 1986).” Moreover, research in opportunity recognition and attention allocation provides fresh perspectives for the identification of potential opportunities from environmental change (Shepherd, Mcmullen and Ocasio, 2017), importance of trends (Berg, 2016; Mueller et al., 2018), and selection of information providers (Westbrock, Muehlfeld and Weitzel, 2018)

With this special issue, we aim to catalyze the integration of those conversations and initiate the building of bridges that can integrate those isolated knowledge pools. Our call intends to contribute through interconnecting organizational theory respective the larger innovation management literature and the practice driven field of strategic foresight. We aim to give foresight new lenses and provide organizational theory and innovation management further empirical evidence. Aligned with latest research (Jeppesen and Lakhani, 2010; Davies, Manning and Söderlund, 2018), we believe in strengthening existing conversations with learning each other’s language, and share novel perspectives beyond insular fields. As such, we aim for the identification of new mechanisms, stronger cross-fertilization across domains, and as a result for a richer understanding of foresight in organizational theory and innovation management.


The special issue will address, but is not limited to the following questions:

    • What role can strategic foresight play in enhancing decision-making?
    • What are successful cases of strategic foresight?
    • How to manage the plethora of information and allocate attention?
    • What are opportunities to discover radical innovations early?
    • How to establish organizational practices to conduct foresight with multiple organizations?
    • How could foresight become more open and integrate distributed sources?
    • Who engages in strategic foresight in organizations (top management, planners, innovation management, R&D)?
    • How should corporate search behavior handle short, medium and long-term challenges?
    • What is the contribution of strategic foresight to dynamic capabilities (is it a microfoundation)?
    • Does strategic foresight boost innovation performance? And under which conditions?
    • Does strategic foresight contribute to quality of strategy?
    • What is the role of mental models and how to establish a clearer representation of the environment?
    • How to counteract cognitive barriers and enhance foresight capacities?

We accept conceptual articles, as well as theory building and theory testing empirical studies. We will also consider contributions describing successful application cases if they reflect their approach sufficiently vis-à-vis existing approaches and theory.

Schedule and Submission Process:

Submission Process: Please prepare the manuscript according to IEEE-TEM’s guidelines ( and submit through the journal’s Manuscript Central site ( Please clearly state in the cover letter that the submission is for this special issue.

Interested authors send abstracts by September 31st 2018

(limited to 1500 words, without references)

Decisions on acceptance of abstracts by October 31st 2018

Full Papers submitted by April 31st 2019

Expected publication early 2020

In addition, we will run a Paper Development Workshop in Aarhus (Denmark) November 2018



Andersen, A. D. and Andersen, P. D. (2014) ‘Innovation system foresight’, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 88, pp. 276–286. doi: 10.1016/j.techfore.2014.06.016.

Berg, J. M. (2016) ‘Balancing on the Creative Highwire: Forecasting the Success of Novel Ideas in Organizations’, Administrative Science Quarterly, 61(3), pp. 433–468. doi: 10.1177/0001839216642211.

Berger, G., de Bourbon-Busset, J. and Massé, P. (2008) De la prospective. Textes fondamentaux de la prospective française 1955-1966. Edited by P. Durance. Paris: L’Harmattan.

Chesbrough, H. W. (2003) Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating and Profiting from Technology. , Boston: Harvard Business School Press. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8691.2008.00502.x.

Coates, J., Durance, P. and Godet, M. (2010) ‘Strategic Foresight Issue: Introduction’, Technological Forecasting and Social Change. Elsevier Inc., 77(9), pp. 1423–1425. doi: 10.1016/j.techfore.2010.08.001.

Davies, A., Manning, S. and Söderlund, J. (2018) ‘When neighboring disciplines fail to learn from each other: The case of innovation and project management research’, Research Policy. Elsevier, 47(5), pp. 965–979. doi: 10.1016/j.respol.2018.03.002.

Gavetti, G. (2012) ‘PERSPECTIVE—Toward a Behavioral Theory of Strategy’, Organization Science, 23(1), pp. 267–285. doi: 10.1287/orsc.1110.0644.

Gavetti, G. and Menon, A. (2016) ‘Evolution Cum Agency: Toward a Model of Strategic Foresight’, Strategy Science, 1(3), pp. 207–233. doi: 10.1287/stsc.2016.0018.

von Hippel, E. (1986) ‘Lead Users: A Source of Novel Product Concepts’, Management Science, 32(7), pp. 791–805. doi: 10.1287/mnsc.32.7.791.

Jeppesen, L. B. and Lakhani, K. R. (2010) ‘Marginality and Problem-Solving Effectiveness in Broadcast Search’, Organization Science, 21(5), pp. 1016–1033. doi: 10.1287/orsc.1090.0491.

Kaplan, S. and Orlikowski, W. J. (2013) ‘Temporal Work in Strategy Making’, Organization Science, 24(4), pp. 965–995. doi: 10.1287/orsc.1120.0792.

Massa, L., Tucci, C. L. and Afuah, A. (2016) ‘A Critical Assessment of Business Model Research’, Academy of Management Annals. Academy of Management, 11(1), pp. 73–104. doi: 10.5465/annals.2014.0072.

Mueller, J. et al. (2018) ‘Reframing the decision-makers’ dilemma: Towards a social context model of creative idea recognition’, Academy of Management Journal, 61(1), pp. 94–110. doi: 10.5465/amj.2013.0887.

Rohrbeck, R., Battistella, C. and Huizingh, E. (2015) ‘Corporate foresight: An emerging field with a rich tradition’, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 101, pp. 1–9. doi: 10.1016/j.techfore.2015.11.002.

Rohrbeck, R. and Kum, M. E. (2018) ‘Corporate foresight and its impact on firm performance: A longitudinal analysis’, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 129(4), pp. 105–116. doi: 10.1016/j.techfore.2017.12.013.

Shepherd, D. A., Mcmullen, J. S. and Ocasio, W. (2017) ‘Is that an opportunity? An attention model of top managers’ opportunity beliefs for strategic action’, Strategic Management Journal, 38(3), pp. 626–644. doi: 10.1002/smj.2499.

Teece, D. J., Pisano, G. and Shuen, A. (1997) ‘Dynamic capabilities and strategic management’, Strategic Management Journal. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., 18(7), pp. 509–533. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0266(199708)18:7<509::aid-smj882>;2-z.

Westbrock, B., Muehlfeld, K. and Weitzel, U. (2018) ‘Selecting Legal Advisors in M&amp;As: Organizational Learning and the Role of Multiplicity of Mental Models’, Journal of Management, XX(X), pp. 1–32. doi: 10.1177/0149206317753292.

Guest Editor bios

Daniel Ehls

Daniel Ehls is senior research fellow at the institute of Technology and Innovation Management, Hamburg University of Technology, where he is the head of the research unit open and user innovation. He serves as permanent faculty at GISMA Business School, as Full Professor in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. His research concentrates on open and user innovation, as well as organization theory and problem solving in the digitalized economy. He specializes in distributed innovation processes, like crowdsourcing, external search, collaborative product development, and self-organizing communities. As a consultant Daniel Ehls has worked at Accenture and continuous to partner with medium-sized and multinational companies for vital research and managerial impact.

Adam Vigdor Gordon

Adam Gordon is Associate Professor in the Strategic Foresight Research Network at Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University, where he is also responsible for executive leadership learning. His academic areas span foresight, innovation, and organizational learning, and the application of these tools to leadership decision-making. Adam has been associate faculty in foresight and innovation at over a dozen universities including INSEAD, Aalto EE, and Monash GSB, and has been an editorial board member of World Future Review: Journal of Strategic Foresight, and Foresight: Journal of Applied Forecasting. He is the author of Future Savvy: Quality in Foresight (Amacom Press). Adam is a former Director of Executive Education at the University of Witwatersrand, and has significant experience in both developed and emerging markets.

Cornelius Herstatt

Cornelius Herstatt is Managing Director and Full Professor at the Institute for Technology and Innovation Management at the Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH). He has published books and more than 300 articles, focusing on innovation management. His works appeared in Research Policy, R&D Management, Journal of Product Innovation Management, International Journal of Innovation Management, International Journal for Technology Policy and Management, etc. His main research areas are the management of innovation projects and the involvement of lead users and user communities in the new product development process.

René Rohrbeck

René Rohrbeck is Professor of Strategy at Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University, where he is head of the Strategic Foresight Research Network. His research focus is stategic foresight, microfoundations of organizational capabilities, innovation, and business models. As a consultant René Rohrbeck has worked with public clients, private-public partnerships and multinational organizations. He has worked in the Energy, ICT, Marine and Automobile sector. His research has been published in international journals such as Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, and R&D Management. His editorial contributions include serving as the managing editor of the special issue on Corporate Foresight for the journal Technological Forecasting and Social Change.

IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management is a journal of the Technology and Engineering Management Society of IEEE, published quarterly since 1954. It is dedicated to the publication of peer-reviewed original contributions, by researchers and practitioners, regarding the theory and practice of engineering, technology, and innovation management.

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Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science

Portland State University, Portland OR

United States

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