Institute for Innovation Management

Johannes Kepler University Linz

Innovation Addresses Key Societal Challenges

The Institute for Innovation Management (IFI) focuses on three innovation challenges in research and teaching

  • Crossing

    Innovation implies breaking new grounds or establishing new links across borders. Borders are bridged between organizations in the form of cooperation, networks and clusters or across the public, for-profit, the third sector or different industries. Also enlarging the business activities beyond geographical borders such as moving R&D offshore constitutes an innovation for firms. Crossing borders brings about the need to manage the transfer of knowledge and information flows between entities.

  • Sustainability and Change

    Innovation is the interplay of sustainability and change. While innovativeness refers to the ability to induce and manage technological and social change, the aspiration of sustainability calls for the institutionalization of innovative practices as diverse as securing property rights, establishing governance structures, scaling up to the societal level or implementing innovation policy. Innovators draw on external resource holders such as business angels, venture capitalist and governmental funding bodies. Innovation raises ethical issues for individuals, organizations and society.

  • Social and Regional Embeddeddness

    Innovation draws on the innovative capacity of places and communities (tangible and virtual communities). Identities and practices rooted in places as well as trust, social capital and social cohesion of communities are the sources for innovative resource combination. Embedded management practices of innovation crystallize as social enterprises, community-led businesses or place-based entrepreneurship.


Our mission is to address these challenges by pursuing holistic innovation research that links different disciplines, methods and levels of analyses. We understand that innovation practices are rooted in their social and regional contexts. We draw on concepts such as trust and social capital to explain the emergence of innovative resource combinations in the form of social enterprises, community-led businesses and place-based entrepreneurship. We provide insights into how to balance sustainability and change over time, acquire resources necessary for innovation and deal with the ethical issues arising from innovation. With our research we strive to contribute to the academic discourse, economic policy and practice.