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  • SIG Purchasing Innovation - Initiation Workshop on Circularity and Innovation Ecosystems

SIG Purchasing Innovation - Initiation Workshop on Circularity and Innovation Ecosystems

  • 05 Dec 2023
  • 17:00
  • 06 Dec 2023
  • 17:00
  • Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden
  • 0


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Initiation Workshop

Circularity and Innovation Ecosystems

Tue 5th and Wed 6th December 2023

Location: Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden

In the realm of purchasing and supply management, extensive research is dedicated to advancing our understanding of how procurement can catalyze innovation (Johnsen et al., 2022). At the same time, today, circularity has taken center stage in both research and practical contexts across various domains. Circularity requires the collaboration, alignment, and innovation from several actors in the network. Firms need to align their procurement strategies with sustainability objectives. By sourcing innovative solutions that embrace circular principles, such as product longevity, recycling, and waste reduction, companies can not only drive environmental benefits but also enhance their competitive edge and resilience in a rapidly evolving market. Purchasing in a circular economy implies seeking to purchase work, goods or services that close the energy and material loops within the supply chain and minimize or eliminate waste (European Commission, 2017; Neesen et al., 2021). Managing innovation ecosystem to create new circular product or service is considered as a critical factor to make the transition towards circular purchasing challenging (De Angelis et al., 2018).

Our call to the research community is to explore the multifaceted dimensions of sourcing and innovation ecosystems within the context of circularity. This is driven by the recognition that circularity demands transformations in procurement practices, which necessitate scholarly examination. Innovation ecosystem research can be divided into research on innovation with suppliers through co-development and sourcing of innovation from suppliers. Within the latter context, an emerging theme has gained prominence in recent years—the shift from procuring innovation exclusively from suppliers within established supply networks to actively scouting for it among new and distant suppliers, thereby engaging with a broader innovation ecosystem (Legenvre and Gualandris, 2018; Narasimhan and Narayanan, 2013).

The rising complexity of solutions and the rapid pace of technological evolution have urged industries to explore beyond their traditional supply networks in search of novel sources of innovation. These sources span startups, innovation hubs, and entities from diverse industries and markets (Arvidsson and Melander, 2022; Phelps, 2010). Supplier-driven innovations are increasingly found in expansive networks, extending beyond the confines of conventional supply chains and embracing wider ecosystems (Yan et al., 2015).

Notably, a growing number of innovations are now sourced, particularly, from startups that typically thrive within broader ecosystems (Wagner, 2021). However, partnering with startups presents unique challenges (Kurpjuweit et al., 2021), including the intricacies of identifying and effectively engaging with startups (Usman and Vanhaverbeke, 2017), as well as becoming an attractive customer to innovative suppliers (Schiele et al., 2012). A promising development in this landscape is the emergence of digital platforms that offer innovation scouting services, a facet that remains relatively unexplored in existing research.

Sustainable innovation necessitates cross-sectoral engagement, bridging private, public, and nonprofit sectors. Beyond fostering increased interdependencies, this mandates a transformation in the nature and boundaries of collaborations and interactions pertaining to innovation (Melander and Arvidsson, 2019 & 2020). There is an imperative to delve deeper into the methodologies and rationales behind sourcing from these ecosystems, particularly in the context of social and green innovation (Melander and Arvidsson, 2022).

As organizations take on increasingly systemic innovations, this evolution presents novel opportunities and challenges for procurement (Luzzini et al., 2015). Both as a functional domain and as an area of research, procurement encounters the need for novel organizational paradigms, innovative modes of operation, the cultivation of ambidexterity, the utilization of digital technologies, and the acquisition of new competencies (Andersen et al., 2021; Constant et al., 2020).

This workshop invites contributions, encompassing both empirical and conceptual work, such as abstracts (max 1 page) or working papers (max 10 pages), dedicated to the exploration of sourcing and innovation ecosystems for circularity and in circular supply chain transition (Expression of interest deadline: 15th October - via this registration form; Contributions deadline: 20th November - by email). While the paragraphs above and the subsequent list suggest potential themes related to the innovation ecosystem theme and circularity context, they are by no means exhaustive:

  • Circular innovation at suppliers
  • Procurement strategies or practices for circularity
  • Sourcing from, by, and collaborating with, start-ups
  • Sourcing from distant suppliers and the role of intermediaries, including nexus suppliers
  • Digital platforms and technologies for sourcing innovation
  • Cross-sectoral collaborations in purchasing and innovation
  • Risk analysis with new unknown suppliers in innovation

Questions should be addressed to the organizers

Ala Arvidsson

Associate Professor of technology management and economics

Chalmers university of technology

Lisa Melander

Associate Professor of technology management and economics

Chalmers university of technology

Thomas E. Johnsen

Professor of Purchasing & Supply Management

Audencia Business School, Nantes, France

Marie-Anne Le Dain

Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering and Management

Grenoble INP , Grenoble, France


Arvidsson, A., Melander, L., & Agndal, H. (2022). Social cross-functional vendor selection in technologically uncertain sourcing situations. Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, 65, 101696.

Andersen, P.H., Ellegaard, C., Kragh, H., (2021). How purchasing departments facilitate organizational ambidexterity. Production Planning & Control 32, 1384-1399.

Constant, F., Johnsen, T.E., and Calvi, R. (2020). Managing tensions between exploitative and exploratory innovation through purchasing function ambidexterity. Journal of Purchasing & Supply Management, 26 (4), 100645.

De Angelis, R., Howard, M., Miemczyk, J., 2018. Supply chain management and the circular economy: towards the circular supply chain. Prod. Plann. Contr. 29 (6), 425–437.

European Commission, 2017. Public procurement for a circular economy: good practice and guidance. Available at: procurement_circular_economy_brochure.pdf.

Johnsen, T.E., LeDain, M.A., Kiratli, N., and Schiele, H. (2022). Purchasing and innovation: Past, present and future of the field of research. Journal of Purchasing & Supply Management, 28(2), 100768.

Kurpjuweit, S., Wagner, S.M., Choi, T.Y. (2021). Selecting Startups as Suppliers: A Typology of Supplier Selection Archetypes. Journal of Supply Chain Management 57, 25-49.

Legenvre, H., & Gualandris, J. (2018). Innovation sourcing excellence: Three purchasing capabilities for success. Business Horizons, 61(1), 95-106.

Luzzini, D., Amann, M., Caniato, F., Essig, M. Ronchi, S. (2015). The path of innovation: purchasing and supplier involvement into new product development. Industrial Marketing Management, Vol. 47, pp. 109–120.

Melander, L., & Arvidsson, A. (2022). Green innovation networks: A research agenda. Journal of Cleaner Production, 131926.

Melander, L., & Arvidsson, A. P. (2020). Getting innovations out of interactions in the public procurement context. Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, 35(12), 2051-2065.

Melander, L., & Pazirandeh, A. (2019). Collaboration beyond the supply network for green innovation: insight from 11 cases. Supply Chain Management: An International Journal.

Narasimhan, R., & Narayanan, S. (2013). Perspectives on Supply Network–Enabled Innovations. Journal of Supply Chain Management, 49(4), 27-42.

Neessen, P. C., Caniëls, M. C., Vos, B., & de Jong, J. P. (2021). How and when do purchasers successfully contribute to the implementation of circular purchasing: A comparative case-study. Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management, 27(3), 100669.

Phelps, C. C. (2010). A longitudinal study of the influence of alliance network structure and composition on firm exploratory innovation. Academy of Management Journal, 53(4), 890-913.

Picaud-Bello, K., Johnsen, T., Calvi, R. and Giannakis, M. (2019), Exploring early purchasing involvement in discontinuous innovation: A dynamic capability perspective. Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management, 25 (4), 100555.

Schiele, H., Calvi, R. and Gibbert, M. (2012). Customer attractiveness, supplier satisfaction and preferred customer status: Introduction, definitions and an overarching framework. Industrial Marketing Management, 41 (8), 1178–1185.

Usman, M. and Vanhaverbeke, W. (2017). How start-ups successfully organize and manage open innovation with large companies”, European Journal of Innovation Management, 20 (1), 171–186.

Wagner, S.M. (2021). Startups in the Supply Chain Ecosystem: An Organizing Framework and Research Opportunities. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 51 (10), 1130-​1157.

Yan, T., Choi, T.Y., Kim, Y., Yang, Y., 2015. A theory of the nexus supplier: A critical supplier from a network perspective. Journal of Supply Chain Management 51, 52-66.

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