3. Rethinking medical innovation in times of crises: organization, delivery and company responses

Convenors: Bastian Rake, Maureen McKelvey and Magnus Gulbrandsen.

Session type: Full paper session.


The global COVID-19 pandemic and the need for rapid responses to it challenge existing ways of innovating and have been a trigger event for rethinking many routines and processes in medical innovation (Chesbrough, 2020; George et al., 2020). Therefore, there is a need to carefully reassess our knowledge about medical innovation specifically in relation to the processes associated with it in times of crisis. As there are considerable health challenges that may cause another crisis (Pereira et al., 2020), avoiding potentially negative medium- and long-term consequences for the organization of (medical) innovation as well as for innovative output becomes a key question (Frey, 2020). Another key question is whether the extraordinary COVID-19 efforts can be transferred to more normal situations. Studying medical crisis thus offers the opportunity to focus upon innovation as responses to that specific event, as well as the effect of a crisis on other desirable outcomes, processes and impacts on healthcare and society.


Track themes

We invite submissions studying the topic of “Rethinking Medical Innovation in Times of Crisis” in a variety of contexts and encourage submissions that go beyond immediate crisis response to study the medium- and long-term impact of a crisis. To reach this goal, we have developed three broader themes of primary interest for this trackSubmissions must be related to one or more of these themes, but that we accept papers that offer clearly complementary perspectives within a theme.  

Theme 1: The Changing Organization of Medical Innovation and R&D 

  • Patterns and persistence of new actors’ medical innovation activities in times of crisis and beyond.  
  • New organizational forms of medical innovation and new ways of collaborating within and across organizations within and beyond a crisis. 
  • The role of digital technologies for medical innovation in times of crisis.  
  • Investigations of the foundations for accelerated medical innovation: what kind of knowledge base, collaboration network and so on is required for fast-track development? 

Theme 2: Medical Innovation and Delivery of Care Around Hospitals and Patients 

  • Whether and how hospitals and other providers of medical care shift their (innovation) activities in times of crisis as well as the consequences in the medium- and long-term
  • Relationship between the work environment in hospitals and other care providers.  
  • New ways of working and medical innovation.  

Theme 3: Crisis Response in Companies 

  • Enabling factors for responding to a crisis through medical innovation as well as the impact of this response in companies 
  • Relationship between specialization and adaptability in the context of medical innovation. 
  • Companies use and encouragement of entrepreneurship and the development of new business models in medical innovation in times of crisis.  


Track details

The organizers are negotiating a special issue in an appropriate journal and invite submissions of the best contributions of this track. Authors should be aware that contributions submitted to the special issue undergo the normal peer review process. Submissions for the special issue are expected to be due shortly after the conference. Therefore, the expectation is that authors submit full papers to this track.  

Sessions of this track will involve sets of thematically grouped papersEach paper will be presented orally. These presentations are followed by commentaries presented by discussants who have been assigned to each paper in advance. Thereafter, the audience is asked to provide questions and comments. 



Chesbrough, H., 2020. To recover faster from Covid-19, open up: Managerial implications from an open innovation perspective. Industrial Marketing Management 88, 410–413. doi:10.1016/j.indmarman.2020.04.010. 

Frey, C.B., 2020. The Great Innovation Deceleration. MIT Sloan Management Review 61 (4), 1–3. 

George, G., Lakhani, K.R., Puranam, P., 2020. What has changed? The Impact of Covid Pandemic on the Technology and Innovation Management Research Agenda. Journal of Management Studies n/a (n/a). doi:10.1111/joms.12634. 

Pereira, V., Temouri, Y., Patnaik, S., Mellahi, K., 2020. Managing and preparing for emerging infectious diseases: Avoiding a catastrophe. Academy of Management Perspectives. doi:10.5465/amp.2019.0023.