The research activities of the chair focus on current issues in the field of Digital Innovation & Transformation. We focus on the question of how the collaboration between IT and business can be made effective and how organizations can use this collaboration to create digital innovations for their business. Specifically, we are working on the following research projects:

Design and Value Creation of Digital Innovation Labs

In recent years, many companies have set up so-called Digital Innovation Labs to help them develop digital innovations for the company faster and more successfully. There are many different objectives and different orientations. In this project, we look at which organizational designs best support the different objectives and how Digital Innovation Labs need to be integrated into the overall company in order to effectively support the exchange of resources, knowledge and culture and contribute to an ambidexterity of the company. The study is conducted in cooperation with the ProcessLab of the Frankfurt School.

First publications:

  • Holotiuk, F., Beimborn, D. (2019): Temporal Ambidexterity: How Digital Innovation Labs Connect Exploration and Exploitation for Digital Innovation. Proceedings of the 40th International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS), München.
  • Hund, A., Holotiuk, F., Wagner, H., and Beimborn, D. (2019): Knowledge Management in the Digital Era: How Digital Innovation Labs Facilitate Knowledge Recombination. Proceedings of the 27th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS), Stockholm-Uppsala.

Contact: Daniel Beimborn

Exaptation - Misuse in the Age of Recombinatorial Digital Innovations

The concept of exaptation, which originated in evolutionary theory and is the counterpart of adaptation, describes the misappropriation or a shift in the function of existing artifacts. The best-known example are bird wings, which originally were used to regulate temperature and had been converted to the function of flying. After extensive research in innovation, new digital technologies put concept in a new context through strong recombinability, replicability, and editability. Exaptation regularly gives rise to disruptive innovations - whether digital or non-digital. By researching exaptation in the digital context and its influencing factors as well as effects, we contribute in this research project to systematically understand and apply this special type of innovation in companies systematically.

  • Hildebrandt, Y. (2022): Hunting Darwins Counterpart: Tracing the Exaptation Phenomenon in IS Research, In: Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Wirtschaftsinformatik, Nürnberg, Germany

Contact: Yannick Hildebrandt

Influencing factors and effects of a digital mindset in companies

The digital mindset is seen as an essential factor in mastering digitization and the challenges that come with it. Yet this elusive construct has remained virtually unexplored. In this research project, we address the details of which ways of thinking constitute a digital mindset, how to measure and, most importantly, develop them, and their impact on various parameters in organizations.

Selected contributions:

Hildebrandt, Y. and Beimborn, D. (2021).
Ambiguous, Misinterpreted, But Essential: Conceptualization of the "Digital Mindset".
Proceedings of the 81 Academy of Management Conference, Virtual Event.

Hildebrandt, Y. and Beimborn, D. (2021).
The Intangible Key for Digitalization: Conceptualizing and Measuring the "Digital Mindset"
Proceedings of the 2021 ACM SIGMIS Conference on Computers and People Research, Virtual Event, Germany

Contact: Yannick Hildebrandt



Managerial Contradictions in Scaled-agile Organisations

Based on the fact that digital technologies have increasingly become core drivers rather than supporters of new products and services in a steadily growing number of established, large enterprises, companies have moved to build so-called scaled-agile organisations in response to the resulting ever closer integration of IT units and business units in companies. Such a "Scaled-Agile Organisation (SAO)" refers to an organisational structure that applies the following organisational design principles across larger domains: (a) decentralized teams with a high degree of decision-making autonomy, (b) routine application of agile working methods within and between teams, (c) interdisciplinary teams with technical as well as IT experts and (d) criteria (a) to (c) apply permanently, i.e. not only for project contexts. Our research addresses the potential and challenges that exist in implementing and managing SAOs at the various levels of the organisational structure.

Selected publications:

  • Frey, J., Hund, A., & Beimborn, D. (2022). Designing Scaled-agile Organizations: A Taxonomy of Design Criteria. (Proceedings of the) 17. International Conference on Wirtschaftsinformatik (WI22).
  • Frey, J., Hund, A., and Beimborn, D. (2021). Scaling Agility: How Organizations Balance Tensions in Scaled-agile Organizations. Proceedings of the 42th International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS), Austin,TX.
  • Frey, J., Hund, A., and Beimborn, D. (2020). Achieving Digital-enabled Strategic Agility Through Resolving Tensions in Scaled-Agile Organizations. Proceedings of the EJIS Special Issue Workshop (Pre-AMCIS Workshop), Salt Lake City, USA.
  • Frey, J., Holotiuk, F., and Beimborn, D. (2020). Debating Digital Innovation: A Literature Review on Realizing Value from Digital Innovation. Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Wirtschaftsinformatik, Potsdam, Germany.
  • Holotiuk, F., Jentsch, C., and Beimborn, D. (2018). The Determinants and Role of Agility for Digital Organizations. Proceedings of the 26th European Conference on Information Systems, Portsmouth, UK.

Contact: Julian Frey

Managing Outsourcing Relationships & Innovation Quality

We investigate success factors for effective IT service management, in particular the management of IT outsourcing relationships. We have developed tools to measure the quality of outsourcing relationships, especially the "soft factors" (such as openness of communication, effectiveness of conflict resolution and the level of common understanding). Methodologically, we are using case studies and survey-based instruments, but will also use approaches of social network analysis and sentiment analysis.
Further, we are focusing on how relationships with outsourcing and cloud service providers need to be managed so that not only the operational service performance is sufficient, but that the service provider also uses its IT capabilities to provide innovation to its clients. This research project is partly conducted in cooperation with the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP), where the University of Bamberg belongs to the Academic Alliance Partners.
Currently, we are conducting a global survey on the impact of the COVID pandemic on collaboration and governance effectiveness in IT outsourcing relationships.

Selected Publications:

  • Meiser, S., Beimborn, D.: Innovation in Outsourcing : An Empirical Analysis of Outsourcing Vendors’ Innovation Approaches In: Information Systems Outsourcing: The Era of Digital Transformation, Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2020 pp. 83-100
  • Beimborn, D.: Considering the Relative Relevance of Outsourcing Relationship Quality. Proceedings of the 20th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS), Barcelona, 2012.
  • Beimborn, D. Wagner, H.-T., Blumenberg, S., Beimborn, D.: Knowledge Transfer Processes in IT Outsourcing Relationships and their Impact on Shared Knowledge and Outsourcing Performance. International Journal of Information Management (29:5),2009, pp. 342-352.
  • Wüllenweber, K., Beimborn, D., Weitzel, T., König, W.: The Impact of Process Standardization on Business Process Outsourcing Success. Information Systems Frontiers (10:2), 2008, pp. 211-224.

Contact: Daniel Beimborn

Startup Support Systems - Digital Company Building

Despite the awareness of the potential that digitization bears for innovation and entrepreneurship, the failure rate of technology startups is still close to 90%. Startup support systems, such as incubators or accelerators, are seen as important tools to help emerging companies overcome challenges in the early start-up phase. While researching the starting-up of an organization is challenging (since many new ventures are terminated before they become visible), the analysis of start-up support systems seems promising to gather deeper insight of the process of new venture creation. Company builders (also known as startup studios, startup factories or venture builders), in particular, offer an extended support portfolio, which differs from that of other incubation models in that it combines “traditional” offerings like financial resources, managerial competencies, networking and physical infrastructure with technical competencies and active involvement in innovation process and prototyping. Recently published white papers claim that this approach leads to a 30% higher success rate in seed rounds of startups that emerge from a company builder compared to traditional startups (GSSN 2020). Using case studies and survey-based tools, we are investigating how Digital Company Builders should ideally be structured and how the digital startups/entrepreneurs should be integrated within this organization.

First Publications:

  • Mittermeier, F., Hund, A. and Beimborn, D. (2022): Supporting Entrepreneurial Endeavors in the Digital Era – A Taxonomy of Digital Company Builders. VHB-Jahrestagung, Düsseldorf, Germany
  • Mittermeier, F., Hund, A., and Beimborn, D. (2020):Digital Company Builders - Exploring a new Phenomenon of Start-up Incubation. Proceedings of the Special Interest Group on Digital Innovation, Transformation and Entrepreneurship (DITE), Cologne, Germany

Contact: Ferdinand Mittermeier