Call for Proposals

You can read the most salient portions of the call for proposals below.

To see the complete version, please download the PDF document to the right.

Strategizing Practices from the Outliers:
Enabling "Big Bang" Innovations


The Strategic Management Society is pleased to announce a special conference at Lake Geneva, Switzerland. This special conference will provide a platform to bring strategy, management and business scholars and practitioners together to discuss and develop strategies for how "outlier" organizations are developing practices that enable large-scale, transformative innovation.

In order to survive in the ever-changing business environment, organizations continue to struggle to reinvent themselves. The need for innovative management of the associated changes calls for further research and investigation into what constitutes innovative management practices, so as to develop pioneer thinking that expands our understanding of the practical implications of managing large scale transformation.

In partnership with CERN and IMD, this Special Conference aims to employ the practices of outlier organizations as working examples of successful and innovative management of large scale change. CERN and IMD are principal partners in this conference owing to their respective roles in propelling the practical and theoretical discussion of innovation to the next level. The value of outlier organizations can be most clearly seen in the substantial impact they have made across industries, thereby changing the competitive landscape. An intriguing and vital issue that this Special Conference seeks to understand is how organizational and management capabilities strengthen such outlier performances, and how does, and in what capacity can, the action of leadership represent and support these capabilities.

This conference seeks to enable a conversation about radical change and strategic innovation. One important theme will be to identify, understand, and draw inspiration from outlier organizations such as those mentioned above: What do these organizations do? And what principles are they working from? We are also interested in a broader set of debates about change and strategic innovation: What are current practices in situations of large scale change? What change processes do top executives and mid-ranking change agents follow? How can strategy research agendas and practices capture essential lessons from the unusual?

There will be several distinguished thought leaders offering their insights on the conference theme. In addition, Conference Co-Chairs and Track Chairs invite submissions from academics, business executives and consultants around four sub-themes:

Theme A: Business Models of Expert Organizations

Sustainable competitive advantage is a rare commodity in today’s turbulent business world. For both incumbent and challenger organizations, the key issues involve identifying new ways of meeting customer needs, and creating new ways of doing business that support on-going change. This theme seeks to explore novel business models and approaches to overcoming inertia. Potential questions include: What are the conditions for successful business model innovation? Under which circumstances does business model innovation lead to competitive advantage, and under which circumstances is it bound to fail? How do firms implement the principles of open innovation in their business models? How do we apply design thinking in strategizing, business model change, and refreshing the power of vision?

Theme B: Driving Innovation Ecosystems

Successful innovation efforts frequently depend on the interplay of many organizations across different industries. This collaborative effort to develop joint solutions for customers often propels innovation. When successfully implemented, these innovation ‘ecosystems’ provide powerful sources of advantage. At the same time, they are typically more complex to implement and more difficult to manage than insular innovation efforts by individual organizations. This theme will deal with the opportunities and challenges associated with innovation ecosystems. It addresses such questions as: What are the roles of different players within innovation ecosystems? When should organizations seek to establish innovation ecosystems? How do organizations need to organize internally in order to coordinate these networks?

Theme C: Large Scale Practice Implementations

The purpose of this theme is to address the question: How does an organization improve efforts to advance to the unknown? New, complex and ambitious projects are currently being planned both in the private and public sectors. Examples range from projects in big science, such as CERN or ITER, and in the business world of oil exploration and experimental drug development. In such cases, reaching for such a dramatic performance increase requires a global and collaborative effort. New business models are needed, where the value chains are no longer vertical but, rather, horizontal, and may even extend across completely unrelated business domains. In such new institutional settings, some of the pertinent questions are: How well do present strategy and business models apply? What do they not cover? What new models or concepts need to be developed? What can be learned from organizations who have achieved such performance leaps?

Theme D: Innovative Management Practices: Taking Big Leaps

In this theme we will explore innovative management practices and analyze the conditions under which is it appropriate for other organizations to adopt the same practices. Innovative management practices can range from new ways of empowering the frontline, through continuous improvement actions to building a global organization, to managing innovations differently. Academics and executives will share their insights and their innovative practices. Potential questions for this theme include: How do companies develop insights and methodologies for implementing new management practices? What processes do they follow? Is the adoption of new management practices the path towards sustained competitive advantage?

This conference offers an opportunity to address these issues and deepen our understanding of how outlier organizations' strategizing practices enable transformative innovation. With these and additional relevant topics, the conference opens up new opportunities by bringing together leaders from the research, business and consulting arenas for intriguing and in-depth discussions.

Submission Guidelines And Requirements

Proposals (5-7 pages, for paper and panel sessions) relating to the conference theme are invited. Only original, unpublished work is sought. Deadline for Submission of Proposals: November 2, 2012



Strategic Management Society

Lake Geneva