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Collaborative knowledge creation infrastructure for entrepreneurial innovation :

Harnessing collaboration and co-location to support entrepreneurship

This call aims to discuss the impact on entrepreneurial innovation of the various collaborative and inclusive environments and practices for innovation that are emerging worldwide. Examples of these are Makerspaces, Hackathons and Makeathons. We encourage contributions from scholars who study the effects of these collaborative practices on both innovation development and commercialisation processes for nascent entrepreneurs. We aim to clarify the role that these environments can play as contexts in which the processes and outcomes of innovation entrepreneurship can be fostered. 

Entrepreneurial innovation relates to the challenge of developing new products or services as well as of structuring a new organisation to commercialise these innovations (Autio et al., 2014). Those engaging in entrepreneurial innovation are typically acting under great resource scarcity while requiring the right conditions to experiment with both innovation and business creation (Aldrich & Martinez, 2007). 

Research highlighted how individuals with various degrees of expertise and backgrounds can start off the path of innovation entrepreneurship by filling their knowledge and resource gaps (Baker & Nelson, 2005). Traditionally resources are accrued by entrepreneurs over time, leveraging personal networks or thanks to the support of entrepreneurial infrastructures such as incubators and accelerators. These environments provide various degrees of support to entrepreneurs looking to grow their business idea, however in recent years we have also witnessed the evolution and spread of a subset of entrepreneurial infrastructure that specifically focus on helping entrepreneurs with the challenges of product innovation: Maker & Hacker spaces (Aldrich, 2014, Mortara & Parisot, 2016). These spaces are not just important because of their help in moving entrepreneurs along their journey, but are also highly valuable for society as these are the most capable of addressing complex problems and large-scale social issues, with highly innovative solutions (Poetz & Schreier, 2012). 

Together, this varied emerging infrastructure available to the public might have a remarkable potential to speed up and facilitate entrepreneurs during the various stages of their innovation and business development (Mitev et al., 2019; Mortara and Parisot 2018): from conceptualising initial product/service ideas to receiving support in the development and testing of product prototypes in open design and manufacturing workshops. Furthermore, the advent of digital platforms for crowdsourcing and crowdfunding could also prove important for the financing of the new emerging venture.

However, despite the increasing development of the scholarly debate, the potential of this entrepreneurial innovation infrastructure is still marginally understood and several questions remain to be addressed to unpack the processes and the impact of these collaborative knowledge creation approaches. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

-What are the processes and outcomes of collaborative innovation practices for entrepreneurial development in these crowd-based environments?

-How do different types of open knowledge settings and mechanisms affect the stages of the development and commercialisation of innovative solutions to complex problems?

-How are entrepreneurs from different backgrounds supported during innovation/business creation processes in open collaborative spaces?

-What are the current bottlenecks and perceived challenges that prevent entrepreneurs from engaging with collaborative innovation practices?

-How do different IP configurations in these open crowd-based settings (e.g. Hackathons) influence the entrepreneurial inclination and practice of participants?

-Which tensions do collaboration and co-location in open collaborative innovation spaces create for the nascent entrepreneurs?

-How do the crowd-based infrastructure configuration (participant types, age, region) influence the entrepreneurial innovation process? 

-How do collaborative environments influence the development of user-innovations which then lead to user-entrepreneurship?



Aldrich, H. E. (2014). The democratization of entrepreneurship? Hackers, makerspaces, and crowdfunding. In Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management.

Aldrich, H. E., & Martinez, M. A. (2007). Many are called, but few are chosen: An evolutionary perspective for the study of entrepreneurship. In Entrepreneurship (pp. 293-311). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

Autio, E., Kenney, M., Mustar, P., Siegel, D., & Wright, M. (2014). Entrepreneurial innovation: The importance of context. Research policy, 43(7), 1097-1108.

Baker, T., & Nelson, R. E. (2005). Creating something from nothing: Resource construction through entrepreneurial bricolage. Administrative science quarterly, 50(3), 329-366.

Mitev, N., De Vaujany, F. X., Laniray, P., Bohas, A., & Fabbri, J. (2019). Co-working spaces, collaborative practices and entrepreneurship. In Collaboration in the digital age (pp. 15-43). Springer, Cham.

Mortara L. & Parisot, N. G.  (2016) Through entrepreneurs’ eyes: the Fab-spaces constellation, International Journal of Production Research, 54:23, 7158-7180

Mortara, L., & Parisot, N. (2018). How do fab-spaces enable entrepreneurship? Case studies of'makers'–entrepreneurs. International Journal of Manufacturing Technology and Management, 32(1), 16-42.

Poetz, M. K., & Schreier, M. (2012). The value of crowdsourcing: can users really compete with professionals in generating new product ideas?. Journal of product innovation management, 29(2), 245-256.



The special track is conceptualized as a multidisciplinary track that will seek contributions from a variety of sources and welcome papers with both conceptual and empirical focus. We aim to elevate and evolve academic and practitioner discourses on the phenomenon of collaborative, bottom-up approaches to advance entrepreneurial innovation. We invite papers from researchers in management sciences, economics, and engineering disciplines with the purpose of generating new insights by trans-disciplinary integration of relevant themes. 


  • Valeria Dammicco 

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