Innovation, sustainability and transformation of business models

Track 1 Innovation, sustainability and transformation of business models


The last decade has seen the advent of numerous innovative businesses that owe their global success to the continuous and unyielding evolution of Internet technology. While in the past Internet users were only passive readers of information on websites, nowadays the availability of the Internet on every device and increasingly advanced digital technologies means that users can be producers and consumers of information, products and services; and this multiplies the opportunities for creating new businesses and enterprise initiatives. Emblematic examples of this revolution are innovative companies such as Facebook, Spotify and Airbnb, which have achieved global success through extensive use of digital technologies and have established themselves as alternative and disruptive business models on an international scale. But it is also embodied in companies operating in more traditional sectors, which are transforming their processes for the intensive co-creation of value. The new business models require a profound redesign of both business strategy and organisation, as well as the development of new skills for managing the external ecosystem, including through the use of new information from Big Data. These companies are able to create new value propositions, through the transformation of key elements of traditional business models. We are seeing new ways of finding and exchanging products and services, new approaches to work and relationships with partners, development of network relationships, new ways of raising capital and new models for generating revenue. It is therefore not surprising that studies in this field are constantly expanding and are focused on analysing these new business models, defining the different types, their aims and their economic and financial sustainability, as well as the social and economic implications of their activities.

The purpose of this track is to analyse the multiple facets of the transformation of business models in innovative companies in the widest range of organisational contexts (small, large, for-profit, non-profit, start-ups and older companies) and with a variety of methodological approaches. Since there are numerous and varied factors influencing the development of these new business models (digital technologies, sustainability, sharing, inclusion, integration and connectivity), a multidisciplinary approach is expected for research in this area. This is with the aim of combining aspects concerning innovation and organisation management, financial analysis and management, business modelling and environmental and social sustainability. The track aims to contribute to understanding of new innovative business models, to support the decisions and strategies of the management of companies in the new millennium and to spread a culture of innovation in the current context. The track invites contributions with different methodological approaches: theoretical – offering new perspectives and analysis methods for the transformation of business models; empirical – through case studies that can highlight cases of innovation and transformation of business models; empirical – through statistical-quantitative methods, to test the determinants and impacts of new business models. Works that make a practical contribution oriented towards managers, entrepreneurs and policy makers will also be appreciated.

The track aims – but is not limited – to include analyses and research on the following topics:

  • The redesign of business models through digital technologies and the impact on their relevant sectors. The relationship between new business models and digital transformation, with particular reference to the implications of the advent of the Internet, the role of digital users in new business models and the transformation of traditional models in different sectors
  • Governance and control methods in innovative business models, particularly user management and coordination models; the relationship between digital technologies and network management; leadership characteristics and collaboration models
  • The creation and defence of competitive advantages in new business models, with particular reference to new or traditional approaches to competition, the measurement and maintenance of a competitive advantage in new businesses and innovations in competition methods
  • Organisational implications of transforming business models, with particular reference to organisational changes due to technological innovations, new methods in human resource management, new relationships with partners and workers and changes to management structures and models
  • Performance measurement in new business models: in particular, how to identify and calculate performance in digital contexts, the role of traditional measurement tools and the comparability, measurement issues and assignment of inputs and outputs
  • Social and environmental sustainability in new business models, with particular reference to how to manage social and environmental issues in new business models, models for measuring sustainability results and disclosure of sustainable activities
  • “Open” business models, in particular with analysis of the relationship between the transformation of business models and the phenomenon of open innovation such as collaborations, the circular economy, the processes of acquisition and transfer of intellectual capital, the development of knowledge and corporate culture
  • Financial management in innovative business models, with particular reference to financial needs and their measurement, alternative capital raising instruments (social bonds; crowdfunding), venture capital funds and new relationships between shareholders, companies and employees

Publication of contributions

The best contributions presented at the conference may be fast-tracked to the following journals, subject to the ordinary refereeing process:

  • British Food Journal (Co-Editor: Stefano Bresciani)
  • Impresa Progetto Electronic Journal of Management (Editor in chief: Piermaria Ferrando)
  • Journal of Promotion Management (Editor in Chief: Hooshang M. Beheshti)
  • Journal of Intellectual Capital (Editor in Chief: Merrill Warkentin)
  • Journal of Knowledge Management(Editor in Chief: Manlio Del Giudice)
  • Other journals pending confirmation