Thematic Issue: "Perspectives on innovation governance: challenges and dilemmas."


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Call for Articles

Guest Editors: Monica Edwards-Schachter (European School of Social Innovation & External Lecturer at the University of Burgos) and Gonzalo Ordóñez-Matamoros (University of Twente & Universidad Externado de Colombia)

Proposals submissions should be made by e-mail:

Deadlines [EXTENDED]:

‐ Submission of abstract proposals: 2 May 2022

‐ Selection of proposals fit for article submission: 15 June 2022

- Full article submission: 22 August 2022


Submission of abstract proposals should present:

  • Between 250 and 500 words;
  • Brief introduction, objectives, methodology, hypothesis (if applicable) and conclusions;
  • Up to five keywords;
  • Up to five bibliographic references;
  • Authors' affiliations and e-mail addresses.
Read more about Thematic Issue: "Perspectives on innovation governance: challenges and dilemmas."

Current Issue

No. III (2021): Popular users: why and how innovation research started to consider users in the innovation process
					View No. III (2021): Popular users: why and how innovation research started  to consider users in the innovation process

Third Issue, 2021

Popular users: why and how innovation research started to consider users in the innovation process

Guest Editors

Rick Hölsgens,  Technische Universität Dortmund (Germany)

Cornelius Schubert, Technische Universität Dortmund (Germany)



Users have no doubt become popular in innovation research. They are not considered a passive mass of adopters but as a more or less active agency in innovation processes. Diffusion research has, for instance, distinguished between several adopter categories: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. These categories can be mapped on the diffusion s-curve and indicate a temporal order along which innovations may be analysed. However, early or late adopters were still seen primarily as adopters. Concepts such as “reinvention” or “domestication” then put more emphasis on the ways in which an innovation may be changed within the adoption process. In these cases, innovations came from elsewhere (i.e., manufacturers), but the users were credited with more creative potential than simply adopting novelties. The turn towards user-driven innovations decidedly shifted the creative potential towards (specific) user groups, transgressing the traditional distinction between producers and consumers.

The involvement of users in innovation processes has been addressed under different labels, for instance, user innovation, open innovation, or participatory design and from different fields such as management and innovation research, science and technology studies, or social innovation studies. The main gist of these approaches lies in reclaiming hitherto neglected aspects, perspectives, or sources of innovations, thus arguing against a top-down producer-centred models of innovation by emphasising bottom-up user-centred modes of innovation. They reconfigure ideas about pushes and pulls, about the constellations and locales in which invention and diffusion occur, and about the transformations of innovations as they emerge and evolve over time and space.

This thematic issue of NOvation seeks to shed light on this increasing popularity of “the user” in innovation studies. We gather here contributions from diverse backgrounds that critically focus on the role of users in innovation studies, from empowerment and emancipation to valorisation and exploitation. We especially addressed the questions of why users have become popular both empirically and conceptually across a range of fields and spanning from academia to politics and civil society. How does user-centred innovation relate to more traditional models of producer-centred innovation? Which role do critical users play in innovation research? Are there specific fields in which users are seen to be more active than in others? Especially, who is considered to be a user or customer?

ISSN 2562-7147

Published: 2022-09-05

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Statement of Aims

The International Journal NOvation – Critical Studies of Innovation is underway to contribute to the rethinking and debunking of innovation narratives in both the interdisciplinary STSScience, Technology and Society, and the wide array of STI Science, Technology, and Innovation disciplinary fields.

Our first steps date back to April 2017, where this endeavour was already in perspective with Godin and Vinck book (2017). From then, a first Issue was proposed: "X-innovation: Re-inventing Innovation Again and Again" (with B. Godin, G. Gaglio and S. Pfotenhauer as editors), in the meanwhile launched in 2019 (June).

Putting together several scholars across at least three continents, NOvation is in itself proof of an urge to open the field of innovation studies and other interdisciplinary –and every disciplinary– areas engaged with STI discourses. New generations have been bold in internationalising their practices and contributing to a broader kind of inter- cross-disciplinary problems and interpretations. Like this, our Editorial Board is encouraging co-authorship between disciplines, promoting special issues with guest editors, in subjects that debate different areas and engage the innovation field with new and more critical generations.

We should emphasise that there is now a younger generation of researchers, more open to this view than the mainstream researchers and scholars are, frequently entrenched as the latter are in University chairs or established research institutions, whose agendas tend to be shaped according to policy agendas. In fact, from the very beginning, "innovation studies" has been a policy-oriented field. Otherwise, there are indeed many scholars who do not recognise themselves in that normative orientation, at the same time being critical of the current system of bibliometric validation and ready to publish in this Journal.

There is a need to look critically at innovation studies presented as the unavoidable path to scholars and experts and get better pictures of innovation than the one this field has been used to. This Journal questions then the current narratives of innovation and offers a forum to discuss some different interpretations of innovation, not just its virtues but also its implications.

In this sense, NO refers to the non-innovative behaviours, which are as crucial to our societies as innovation. Failures, imitation and adverse effects of innovation, to take just some examples of non-innovation or NOvation, are minimised and rarely form part of innovation theories. The following topics comprehend this journal scope of interests and critical approaches:

- Deconstructing theories and models of innovation;

- Deconstructing the discourses proposing, idealising and selling them;

- Confronting diverse ontologies of policy and development with rational innovation models and other views of officials and development agencies;

-  Not just deconstructing, but also constructing different models and proposing alternative narratives.

Besides, the areas that NOvation calls to collaborate represents an interdisciplinary field with many disciplinary and thematic affiliations – Economics and sociology of innovation, History of Science and Technology, Conceptual history, Intellectual history, Public Policy, Institutional History, etc. –, with a wide scope of methodological possibilities:

  1. Critical analyses: from and on studies of innovation, being those approaches more disciplinary or interdisciplinary;
  2. Discourse analysis: deconstructing actors' rhetoric, policy-makers frameworks and scholars' theories and argumentation;
  3. Intellectual history: documenting scholars' theories and trajectories;
  4. Conceptual accounts: studying the concepts used in the field, the travelling of concepts among fields (academic and public) and their transformation into catchwords;
  5. Case studies: helping to understand and mapping the uses of innovation and to rethink current narratives.


One thing that we find most important, to not lose sight of, is that 'NOvation' modus operandi is different from mainstream journals, i.e., not too obsessed with fashionable international credentials, like REF-Research Excellence Framework or other criteria that make rankings and so on – impact factors, etc. Researchers are also looking for alternative indicators to better account for the diversity of access and appropriation of knowledge, than the only provided by citation and impact factors in a mainstream journal. In addition, with our open peer review policy, we are encouraging responsible and grounded evaluations and constructive debates, which means that when it reveals interesting, this somewhat 'invisible' work of a journal might be published in a proper section.

The critical study of innovation is essential because innovation as a word is everywhere in contemporary societies. Innovation is on the political discourses, cultural and knowledge debates, and in the political economy of nowadays global economics. It is not for the sake of being against but to make up for the lack of empirical basis that the pro-innovation bias has. We are indeed interested in understanding "why innovation is (un)important' in connection to other categories of human agency contributing to progress", or put in other words: understand 'why, where and when' innovation could be– or not be– important to progress and development of human endeavour in different contexts and regions.

Adopting a critical stance and studying innovation not from a performative place, that's our challenge to innovation studies communities across the globe. Indeed, the field of innovation studies is normative and programmatic. People like to construct new theories or visions. They are not used to historical, conceptual and critical analysis of innovation. This is what we want to build at NOvation. NOvation examines those who research, study or talk about innovation, the vocabulary and the concepts used, the discourses developed (past and present), the theories constructed, the assumptions, values and ideologies behind the theories, ideas, views, etc. This why our look towards innovation is concerned (though not exclusively) with historical and genealogical aspects: in short, what is the 'originality' of the theories? To what extent do the alternatives challenge existing theories? This includes looking at the context of the emergence of the alternative theories; the origin of the alternative theories, evolution and recent developments; the goals (explicit and implicit) and rationales of the theories; conceptual and discursive aspects – namely, to identify precursor terms and to study a particular semantic field. In sum, our contribution at NOvation is anchored on the assumption that it has become vital to our contemporary legibility to scrutinise the discourses held in the name of, or uses of, the theories (in the academic community, among practitioners and/or policymakers). This is to unveil the normativeness of those discourses or theories: what role values and policy play in the new narratives? That is to study the politics and ideology of innovation. (Godin 2019; Godin et al. 2021)

Tiago Brandão (Managing Editor)


Operation and Rules

ISSN 2562-7147

This is a peer-review journal (two evaluations per manuscript).

We are publishing an annual Special Issue.

For submission, look at the Authors Guidelines (i.e., should follow APA Styles).


Copyright Statement
This Open Access journal is under a Creative Commons License – CC Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0, that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.



GODIN, B., VINCK, D. (Eds.) (2017). Critical Studies of Innovation. Alternative Approaches to the Pro-Innovation Bias. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

GODIN, B. (2019). The Invention of Technological Innovation: Languages, Discourses and Ideology in Historical Perspective. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

GODIN, B. (2020). The Idea of Technological Innovation. A Brief Alternative History. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

GODIN, B., GAGLIO, G, VINCK, D. (Eds.) (2021). Handbook on Alternative Theories of Innovation. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.