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


Download Call HERE

Special Issue Organizers: 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)


Innovation governance has become a “hot topic” in nurturing and framing contemporary debates on innovation policies. Governance of innovation refers to governing styles and practices involving actors from private, public, and third sectors. The notion usually refers to changes in governing either in a new government process, policy, or regulatory framework, or a new method that create the conditions for collective action (Rhodes, 1996; McGuinnis, 2011). More specifically, innovation governance represents a system to align goals, allocate resources, and assign decision-making authority for innovation, which entails the generation of structures, models, and practices marked by complex interdependence at multiple levels, i.e., local, national, or international (Stocker, 1998; Jessop, 1998, 2020).

In a few decades, the term gained relevance associated with the rise of corporate innovation governance in the private sector and search for more action-oriented and anticipatory policymaking to effectively address complex problems and uncertainty (Stoker, 1998; Diercks et al., 2019; Tõnurist & Hanson, 2020). Claims to Responsible Research & Innovation (RRI) and Transformative Innovation Policy (TIP) are becoming a holy grail addressing societal challenges and systemic change towards sustainability (Diercks et al., 2019; Ludwig & Macnaghten, 2020). Moreover, an intensified movement for Public Engagement (PE) is spreading optimistic discourses on participatory citizenry in public policy and innovation processes (for example, the role of governance labs and Public Sector Innovation Laboratories, PSIL).

However, some critical voices bring to the fore political and ideological constraints in the governance debate and question to what extent prevalent neoliberalism and pro-innovation biases shape public discourses and governance narratives (e.g., Godin et al., 2021). More than a decade ago, Newman (2005) highlighted how Western and European governments contributed to the progressive dismantling of the contract between the state and citizens to build a new social agency into collaborative governance based on the responsibility of citizens. More recently, Kuhlmann & Ordonez-Matamoros (2017) and Ordonez et al. (2021) analyse the bias and governance imbalances in emerging economies, pointing out numerous barriers related to the non-neutrality of transformative policy innovation, and policy as a “political business.”

This call of papers seeks novel research exploring current challenges and dilemmas of innovation governance from critical innovation perspectives. The call follows the debates of the first international NOvation Online Forum (15 to 17 September of 2021) and invites all scholars who have a keen interest in understanding the causes and effects of innovation policies and governance practices. In particular, the call encourages researchers to explore new and alternative methodologies overcoming current limitations in analysing the complexity of policy and governance processes. In that sense, the call strives to include a variety of research designs, qualitative and mixed methodologies.  Examples of topics are:

  • Governance of innovation under the lenses of the pro-innovation imperative;
  • Innovation governance and debates on economic growth;
  • Networked, collaborative and multi-level processes of governance in emerging economies;
  • Governance of innovation and socioecological change;
  • Challenges of governance of innovation facing sustainability transformation and interconnection between ethic, social, economic, political, and environmental issues;
  • Innovation governance, networked governance of innovation and knowledge co-creation;
  • Transformative governance associated with transformative innovation policy, e.g., the notions of anticipatory innovation governance, mission-oriented and adaptive innovation;
  • Anticipatory innovation governance and responsible research and innovation;
  • Public Engagement (PE) initiatives and changing governance practice, including new PE methodological approaches;
  • The role of new empowerment technologies in redrawing citizen-state relationships;
  • Governance structures and practices in Policy labs and Public Sector Innovation Labs (PSIL);
  • Policy labs as sources of new possibilities of social agency and new patterns of inclusion and exclusion;
  • The role of regulation on innovation governance;
  • Remaking citizenship as an object of governance;
  • The role of politics on innovation governance.


Keywords: Innovation governance; Governance; Innovation policy; Governance of technology; Public Engagement (PE); Policy and governance labs.



Diercks, G., Larsen, H., Steward, F. (2019). Transformative innovation policy: addressing variety in an emerging policy paradigm. Research Policy 48, 880–894.

Godin, Benoît; Gaglio, Gerald; Vinck, Dominique (Eds.) (2021). Handbook on Alternative Theories of Innovation. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Jessop, B. (1998). The rise of governance and the risks of failure: the case of economic development. International Social Science Journal, 155: 29-46.

Jessop, B. (2020). Putting Civil Society in Its Place: Governance, Metagovernance and Subjectivity. Book 1 of 3: Civil Society and Social Change (3 Book Series). Bristol University Press.

Kuhlmann, S. & Ordonez-Matamoros, H.G. (2017). Research Handbook on Innovation Governance for Emerging Economies: Towards Better Models. Edward Elgar Publishing. Cheltenham, U.K.

Ludwig, D. & Macnaghten, P. (2020) Traditional ecological knowledge in innovation governance: a framework for responsible and just innovation. Journal of Responsible Innovation, 7:1, 26-44

McGinnis, M.D. (2011). Networks of adjacent action situations in polycentric governance. Policy Stud. J. 39, 51–78.

Newman, J. (2005). Remaking Governance: Peoples, Politics and the Public Sphere, Bristol University Press.

Ordóñez-Matamoros, G., Bortagaray, I., Sierra-González, J. H., García-Estévez, J., & Orozco, L. A. (2021). Policy and Governance of Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable and Inclusive Development in Latin America. In  Ordóñez-Matamoros, G., Orozco, L.O., Sierra-González, J.H., Bortagaray, I., García-Estévez, J. Policy and Governance of Science, Technology, and Innovation (pp. 1-11). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Rhodes, R. (1996). The New Governance: Governing without Government. Political Studies, 44, pp. 652–67

Stocker, G. (1998). Governance as theory: five propositions. International Social Science Journal 50 (155), 17–28.

Tõnurist, P. & Hanson, A. (2020). Anticipatory Innovation Governance: Moving governments from a reactive to a proactive approach to policy-making. Public Governance working papers. OECD.