Frontiers in Digital Innovation Research: Phenomena, Theories, and Approaches

Third-cycle level | 10.0 credits | Course code: IT00006
VT 2020
Study period: 2020-02-24 - 2020-05-29
LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION: The course is given in English
Application period: 2020-01-13 - 2020-01-13

Course description


Digital technologies demonstrate unique properties, such as malleability and flexibility. Such properties make them generative, in the sense that they continuously produce new opportunities for the creation of products, services, infrastructures, business models, and organizational forms (Bharadwaj et al. 2013; Lyytinen et al. 2016; Nambisan et al. 2017; Yoo et al. 2010). Digital technologies are also increasingly affordable and accessible, radically lowering entry barriers. As new stakeholders are engaged, value creation processes spread far beyond corporate lab environments, further embedding digital technologies into society. Ultimately, digital technologies alter the environments of organizations, give rise to tensions, and call for profound change in how they organize for innovation (Gregory et al. 2015; Sandberg et al. 2019; Svahn et al. 2017).

In response, the information systems (IS) community has established a strong foundation for research on topics such as digital innovation (Fichman et al. 2014; Yoo et al. 2012; Yoo et al. 2010), digital infrastructure (Constantinides et al. 2018; Henfridsson and Bygstad 2013; Tilson et al. 2010), digital transformation (Majchrzak et al. 2016; Nambisan et al. 2019), and digital ecosystems (El Sawy et al. 2010; Jacobides et al. 2018; Suseno et al. 2018; Tiwana 2015). This research is further accelerated by regional and global initiatives, such as the Swedish Centre for Digital Innovation (SCDI) and the recently announced AIS special interest group on Digital Innovation, Transformation, and Entrepreneurship (SIG DITE).


This PhD course offers an overview of contemporary research in the area of digital innovation. In particular, it showcases a range of theories and approaches that researchers can employ to study the many complex phenomena associated with digital innovation. A range of focus areas are discussed in relation to selected readings and illustrated by SCDI research projects. The following modules are included in the course:


  • Digital Innovation in IS Research
  • Citizen Science in Digital Collective Action Research
  • Pragmatist Outreach and Impact
  • Social Network Analysis in Organizational Research
  • Theorizing Digital Institutions
  • Researching Emerging Technologies


  • Longitudinal Research
  • Collection and Analysis of Digital Trace Data
  • Scaling digital ventures
  • Critical Investigations of Black Boxed Digital Organizing
  • Organizing in the Digital Age


  • Critical Realism in Digital Innovation Research
  • The Sociomaterial Lens: Tracing the Flow of Material-Discursive Practices
  • Video Ethnography in Digital Entrepreneurship
  • Process research on innovation trajectories

Target audience

The course is designed for PhD students pursuing a dissertation on digital innovation, digital transformation, digital entrepreneurship, or a similar topic. The course is free of charge, but participants are expected to cover costs for travel and accommodation. We invite applications from across Scandinavia.

Requirements and Selection

Entry requirements

General entry requirements for third-cycle studies.


We accept a maximum of 18 students. Applicants are evaluated on the match between thesis focus and course content. For comparable merits, priority is given to:

  1. PhD students at SCDI member institutions (GU, UU, HHS).
  2. PhD students at collaborating institutions (Aalto University, Copenhagen Business School, and Oslo University).
  3. PhD students enrolled at the Swedish research school Management and IT.

Educational partnership

The course is a collaboration between the three founding member institutions of Swedish Centre for Digital Innovation (SCDI): Umeå university, Stockholm School of Economics and the University of Gothenburg.

Other information

The course consists of three meetings, each covering three days, and is distributed across the three institutions (see below).

The first meeting is in Gothenburg Feb 24-26, the second in Umeå March 24-26, and the final in Stockholm May 12-14.

Link to website

Course syllabus



Department of Applied Information Technology


Business, Economics and Law, IT

Type of course

Subject area course


digital innovation, digital entrepreneurship, digital transformation, digital infrastructure

CONTACTFredrik Svahn