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

Journal | IEEE TEM | Strategic foresight in organisational theory and innovation management | Submission deadline: April 30, 2019

Guest Editors

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

Adam Gordon, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University

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

Rene Rohrbeck, Aarhus BSS, 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.

Our Interest

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

  • Abstracts can be submitted until October 15th, 2018 (limited to 1500 words, without references). Feedback and guidance on the abstract will be provided by November 15th. This step is recommended but not compulsory. Please submit your abstract via email to
  • Full papers have to be submitted by April 30th, 2019. 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,
  • Publication is expected by early 2020

The editorial team will also join the Scenario Planning and Foresight Conference in Warwick, 10/11 December 2018, which is an additional opportunity to receive feedback on your manuscript.


Guest Editor Bio’s

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 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 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 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.

About the Journal

IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management is 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.


Editor in Chief

Tugrul U Daim, PhD PICMET Fellow

Professor and Director

Technology Management Doctoral Program

Department of Engineering and Technology Management

Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science

Portland State University, Portland OR

United States

Comments are closed.