Call for papers for a CIJ Special issue: Inspiring the future change-makers: reflections and ways forward from the Challenge-Based Innovation experiment


Submission deadline: 21st of March, 2021

Special Issue editors

Matteo Vignoli, University of Bologna

Christine Thong, Swinburne University of Technology

Kirstin Kohler, Hochschule Mannheim

Bernardo Balboni, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia

Clio Dosi, University of Bologna

Giuseppe Mincolelli, University of Ferrara

Andreea Cotoranu, Pace University

Noemi Glisoni, Collège des Ingénieurs Italia

Markus Nordberg, CERN

Saku Mäkinen, CERN, Tampere University of Technology


Since 2013 Ideasquare, CERN has coordinated Challenge Based Innovation (CBI) inspired programs (CBI-like) together with a variety of universities and institutions to inspire the future change-makers to tackle global challenges. CBI-like programs are educational projects where university students, PhDs, and MBA fellows work in multidisciplinary teams to solve innovation challenges while applying Design Thinking principles (Kurikka et al., 2016). Teaching the design thinking process includes implementing user-centered activities, building prototypes to test hypotheses, collaborating in multidisciplinary teams, and developing project-based teaching structures (Dym et al., 2005). The CBI-like programs incorporated additional elements: international collaboration (Jensen et al., 2018), distributed collaboration (Kurikka and Utriainen, 2014), translation of fundamental research into societal applications (Kurikka et al., 2016), open innovation, and collaboration with companies and organizations.

In CBI-like projects, teams are inspired by technological ideas from instrumentation development or basic research at CERN, one of the world’s leading research centers in particle physics, to creating disruptive innovation for societal impact in the context of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Over the years, scholars have used CBI-like to experiment with different innovation, teaching, and design methodologies (Dell’Era and Landoni, 2014). This work resulted in 21 publications (7 Journal papers, 14 Conference papers), two reports, and 7+ Master Theses.









(Kurikka and Utriainen, 2014)

(Bortesi, 2015; Buzzaccaro, 2015; Gerstenberg et al., 2015; Heliövaara, 2015; Kriesi et al., 2015; Manetti, 2015; Utriainen, 2015)

(Hassi et al., 2016; Kalasniemi, 2016; Kriesi et al., 2016; Kurikka et al., 2016)

(Benvenuti et al., 2017; J. Kurikka, 2017; J. J. Kurikka, 2017; Masini, 2017; Mincolelli, 2017; Utriainen and Taajamaa, 2017; Utriainen, 2017)

(G. Charosky et al., 2018; Guido Charosky et al., 2018; Jensen et al., 2018)

(CERN Ideasquare, 2019; Faria and Fernandes, 2019; Palomäki, 2019; Pisoni et al., 2019)

(Copy et al., 2020; Gallagher and Savage, 2020; Pisoni et al., 2020; Teo, 2020)


Different collaborating universities and institutions worldwide have created more than eight CBI programs, and many more were inspired (CBI-like) by this format (e.g., Pisoni et al., 2020). After eight years of experimentation, we would like to document the conclusions and the open challenges in a Special Issue of the CERN IdeaSquare Journal of Experimental Innovation.

This Special Issue calls for submissions that present the application of CBI-like programs in academia, industry, and society. We are particularly interested in understanding the motivation for establishing CBI-like programs inside universities and institutions. We care for the impact of CBI-like programs on the academic and student community as well as on organizations, corporations, institutions, and society at large. We welcome contributions, both conceptual and empirical, from the field of creativity and innovation, design, management, organization studies, and education.

Among topics that might be of interest for this Special Issue of CIJ, we welcome manuscripts from areas including but not limited to:

  • case studies of the CBI-like programs
  • curriculum design and specific adaptations
  • impact of the CBI-like projects
  • learning outcomes
  • new methodologies and tools
  • methods for remote collaboration
  • coaching CBI-like projects
  • life-long learning
  • CBI-like student outcomes
  • CBI-like organizational and societal impact

This Special Issue seeks manuscripts presenting a concise answer to a specific research question, conforming to the CIJ 1500 – 3000 word limits. The submitted manuscripts should follow the CIJ submission instructions containing the manuscript outline and submission information (

When ready to submit please do so by selecting the section titled ‘Submission to the Special Issue on Challenge-Based Innovation experiments’.

For further information in case of questions concerning the Special Issue, please contact:

Matteo Vignoli, Guest Editor, CIJ (

Laura Wirtavuori, project associate, CERN (

Saku Mäkinen, editor in chief, CIJ (

Valeria Brancolini, managing editor, CIJ (


15 Jan 2021             Call issued

21 March 2021          Full paper submission deadline

18 April 2021            Reviews returned to authors

9 May 2021               Revised papers submitted by authors

30 June 2021            Special issue published 



Benvenuti, C., Sutton, C., Wenninger, H., 2017. Knowledge and Technology: Sharing With Society. Christian Fabjan, Thomas Taylor, Daniel Treille, Horst Wenninger: Technology meets Research 60, 365–392.

Bortesi, R., 2015. L’approccio Reggio Emilia Engineering Education: il punto di vista degli studenti. Il caso ME310 e CBI Unpublished dissertation

Buzzaccaro, N., 2015. Design fiction. One year foresighting the future from Taipei to CERN. Italy. Unpublished dissertation

CERN Ideasquare, 2019. Progress Report 2017-2018 for IdeaSquare.

Charosky, Guido, Hassi, L., Leveratto, L., Papageorgiou, K., Ramos, J., Bragos, R., 2018. Education for innovation: engineering, management and design multidisciplinary teams of students tackling complex societal problems through Design Thinking, in: 4th International Conference on Higher Education Advances (HEAD’18). Presented at the 4th International Conference on Higher Education Advances (HEAD’18), Editorial Universitat Politècnica de València, pp. 1081–1087.

Charosky, G., Leveratto, L., Hassi, L., Papageorgiou, K., Ramos-Castro, J., Bragós, R., 2018. Challenge based education: an approach to innovation through multidisciplinary teams of students using Design Thinking, in: 2018 XIII Technologies Applied to Electronics Teaching Conference (TAEE). Presented at the 2018 XIII Technologies Applied to Electronics Teaching Conference (TAEE), pp. 1–8.

Copy, B., Bräger, M., Papageorgiou Koufidis, A., Piselli, E., Prieto Barreiro, I., 2020. Integrating IoT Devices Into the CERN Control and Monitoring Platform, in: Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Accelerator and Large Experimental Physics Control Systems. JACoW Publishing, Geneva, Switzerland, p. 4 pages, 0.386 MB.

Dell’Era, C., Landoni, P., 2014. Living Lab: A Methodology between User-Centred Design and Participatory Design. Creativity and Innovation Management 23, 137–154.

Dym, C.L., Agogino, A.M., Eris, O., Frey, D.D., Leifer, L.J., 2005. Engineering Design Thinking, Teaching, and Learning. Journal of Engineering Education 94, 103–120.

Faria, C., Fernandes, M., 2019. A modular graphic identity solution in rebranding an educational programme. CERN IdeaSquare Journal of Experimental Innovation 3, 23–56.

Gallagher, S.E., Savage, T., 2020. Challenge-based learning in higher education: an exploratory literature review. Teaching in Higher Education 0, 1–23.

Gerstenberg, A., Sjöman, H., Reime, T., Abrahamsson, P., Steinert, M., 2015. A Simultaneous, Multidisciplinary Development and Design Journey – Reflections on Prototyping, in: Chorianopoulos, K., Divitini, M., Baalsrud Hauge, J., Jaccheri, L., Malaka, R. (Eds.), Entertainment Computing - ICEC 2015, Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Springer International Publishing, Cham, pp. 409–416.

Hassi, L., Ramos-Castro, J., Leveratto, L., Kurikka, J.J., Charosky, G., Utriainen, T.M., Bragós, R., Nordberg, M., 2016. Mixing design, management and engineering students in challenge-based projects, in: Proceedings of the 12th International CDIO Conference.

Heliövaara, A., 2015. Innovation systems - Capturing new ideas for innovations in research oriented organizations and technology companies. Unpublished dissertation

Jensen, M.B., Utriainen, T.M., Steinert, M., 2018. Mapping remote and multidisciplinary learning barriers: lessons from challenge-based innovation at CERN. European Journal of Engineering Education 43, 40–54.

Kalasniemi, J., 2016. Capturing participant data from product design process – triangulation of three different approaches. Unpublished dissertation

Kriesi, C., Balters, S., Steinert, M., 2016. Experimental Studies in Design Science and Engineering Design Science – A Repository for Experiment Setups, in: DS 85-1: Proceedings of NordDesign 2016, Volume 1, Trondheim, Norway, 10th - 12th August 2016. pp. 114–123.

Kriesi, C., Steinert, M., Aalto-Setaelae, L., Anvik, A., Balters, S., Baracchi, A., Jensen, M.B., Bjørkli, L.E., Buzzaccaro, N., Cortesi, D., D’Onghia, F., Dosi, C., Franchini, G., Fuchs, M., Gerstenberg, A., Hansen, E., Hiekkanen, K.M., Hyde, D., Ituarte, I., Kalasniemi, J., Kurikka, J., Lanza, I., Laurila, A., Lee, T.H., Lønvik, S., Mansikka-Aho, A., Nordberg, M., Oinonen, P., Pedrelli, L., Pekuri, A., Rane, E., Reime, T., Repokari, L., Rønningen, M., Rowlands, S., Sjöman, H., Slåttsveen, K., Strachan, A., Strømstad, K., Suren, S., Tapio, P., Utriainen, T., Vignoli, M., Vijaykumar, S., Welo, T., Wulvik, A., 2015. Distributed experiments in design sciences, a next step in design Observation Studies?, in: DS 80-2 Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 15) Vol 2: Design Theory and Research Methodology Design Processes, Milan, Italy, 27-30.07.15. The Design Society, Glasgow, pp. 319–328.

Kurikka, J., 2017. Online Based Innovation - Online Tools and Teaching to Support Global Collaboration and Distributed Development Projects. Presented at the 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition.

Kurikka, J., Utriainen, T., Repokari, L., 2016. Challenge based innovation: translating fundamental research into societal applications. International Journal of Learning and Change 8, 278–297.

Kurikka, J.J., 2017. OBI-Developing an idea sharing platform for online collaboration and distributed student projects. CERN IdeaSquare Journal of Experimental Innovation 1, 13–13.

Kurikka, Utriainen, T., 2014. Container Challenge – Protyping Distributed Collaboration, in: DS 78: Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE14), Design Education and Human Technology Relations, University of Twente, The Netherlands, 04-05.09.2014. Presented at the ICED 2014, pp. 504–509.

Manetti, A., 2015. Design Thinking en el CERN: Como el proceso de diseño, el management y la tecnología pueden cambiar la vida de las personas.

Masini, C., 2017. Design Thinking e sperimentazione pedagogica. Ricerca sull’esperienza Unimore: Educate to Innovate. Unpublished dissertation

Mincolelli, G., 2017. Fabbrica digitale e innovazione. p. 14.

Palomäki, S., 2019. Impacts of a challenge-based innovation project course on the entrepreneurial intentions of multidisciplinary student teams | CERN IdeaSquare Journal of Experimental Innovation.

Pisoni, G., Marchese, M., Renouard, F., 2019. Benefits and Challenges of Distributed Student Activities in Online Education Settings: Cross-University Collaborations on a Pan-European Level, in: 2019 IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON). Presented at the 2019 IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON), IEEE, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, pp. 1017–1021.

Pisoni, G., Segovia, J., Stoycheva, M., Marchese, M., 2020. Distributed Student Team Work in Challenge-Based Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E) Course, in: Popescu, E., Hao, T., Hsu, T.-C., Xie, H., Temperini, M., Chen, W. (Eds.), Emerging Technologies for Education, Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Springer International Publishing, Cham, pp. 155–163.

Teo, E.A., 2020. State-of-the-art analysis of the pedagogical underpinnings of open science, citizen science and open innovation activities.

Utriainen, M.T.M., Taajamaa, V., 2017. Technology and Need as Starting Points for Innovation-Experiences from Multidisciplinary Student Teams. Presented at the 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition.

Utriainen, T., 2017. Perceived difficulty of design thinking activities in co-located and remote environments. CERN IdeaSquare Journal of Experimental Innovation 1, 21–21.

Utriainen, T., 2015. Mapping the difficulty of design activities in product design team work. Unpublished dissertation