CALL FOR PAPERS: TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIAL CHANGE DURING THE PANDEMIC CRISIS @ELSEVIER

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About the Journal & Background

The coronavirus pandemic invaded the world like a silent dark shadow. First announced as a pneumonia of unknown cause by China on December 31, 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic has completely devastated the world (Blackburn et al., 2020). As of August 15, 2020, the pandemic infected almost 21 million people and caused close to 750,000 deaths worldwide (Johns Hopkins University & Medicine, 2020). It is not just people’s health that is suffering. The global economy is in a rapid downward spiral to recession, social distancing has caused mental anguish to everyone, and daily life patterns have dramatically changed (Stoll, 2020).

As damaging and tragic COVID-19 has been, in both scale and depth, one fortunate thing is that the pandemic occurred in today’s digital age (Guy, 2019; Trimi, 2020). We can apply such advanced technologies as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, smart sensors, Internet of Things (IoT), mobile and location technologies, virtual and augmented reality (VR & AR), cloud computing, and autonomous systems. These technologies help generate innovation ideas to manage the pandemic through real-time scanning of the virus spread, data analytics for testing, contact tracing, and isolation of infected patients (Tonby & Woezel, 2020). However, it is important to maintain a balance between leveraging the power of advanced technologies and protecting people’s privacy. For example, due to the differences in privacy laws, it has been more challenging to trace the Covid-19 cases in the USA than in countries like China or South Korea (Chen, 2020).

The pandemic has brought a complete change to the way organizations operate, people live, and governments administer. Many business enterprises were either completely shut down (e.g., restaurants, bars, construction projects, casinos, theaters, sports events, the Tokyo Olympics, amusement parks, casinos, etc.) or operating at a substantially reduced scale (e.g., airlines, hotels, conventions, national parks, golf courses, etc.).

The pandemic has brought social change that no one expected. The recommended and/or compulsory use of masks, social distancing, and shelter-in-residence have significant and positive impacts on controlling the pandemic. It is also estimated that these actions could save approximately 40.76 trillion USD globally (Yoo & Managi, 2020). However, the new measures have changed the way people live (work, learn, entertain, exercise, love, and eat). Such social changes have an enormous impact on people’s physical and emotional health, drive to learn and grow, and the way daily needs are met. Remote work, online learning, telehealth, and home entertainment are only the most visible changes (Lee & Trimi, 2020).

The COVID-19 pandemic has no signs of slowing down its destructive power. Until vaccines or cures are developed, the world has to learn to live with the virus. In almost every developed country, the biopharmaceutical industry is rushing to develop effective vaccines, ready for application by the end of 2020. Eventually, the COVID-19 pandemic will also become a past pandemic as the Spanish Flu of 1918-1919, SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) in 2003, novel influenza virus (H1N1) in 2009, and MERS (Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome) have through vaccines, cures, or herd immunity. Then, what will be the new normal in the post-pandemic world? The good old days surely will not return precisely as they were (Sneader & Singhal, 2020). Preparation for the new normal will be an arduous road requiring advanced technologies, innovation, new models of organizations and work, and new approaches to people’s social lives.

Several developments during the Covid-19 crisis have the fingerprints of the open and co-innovation paradigms. Typically, these innovation approaches are implemented to reduce operational costs. However, COVID-19 related innovation initiatives focus on saving time (Chesbrough, 2020). Examples of collaborative innovations include the rapid mobilization of the scientists and pharmaceutical companies to develop the vaccine, the sharing of the genetic sequence of the virus immediately after Chinese scientists were able to synthesize the virus, and the publication of all known literature on coronavirus in a machine-readable format.

This Special Issue explores successes and failures of different approaches, innovations, and technology applications for managing the pandemic and strategies for sustaining and thriving during the crisis (Bello et al., 2020). We also invite original research dealing with developing new models of success in the post-pandemic world for people, organizations, and society at large.

Themes and Sub-themes:

Suggested topics for the Special Issue include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Managing the pandemic with technology-enabled innovations
  • Collaborative innovation during the crisis
  • Social changes and resilient life strategies
  • Social change for the greater good
  • Reimagining agile organizations for a COVID-19 world
  • Technology-supported management of business disruptions
  • Supply chain innovation during the global pandemic crisis
  • Innovations for contact-free operations and services
  • AI and big data analytics for crisis management
  • Repurposing strategies during the time of crisis
  • Remote work, online education, and telehealth: success and failure experiences
  • Improving the productivity of remote work practices
  • New patterns of leisure and entertainment during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Technology-driven strategies for managing the pandemic
  • Digital transformation of organizations in the post-pandemic period
  • Agile and resilient strategies in the new normal
  • Social entrepreneurship in times of the crisis
  • Technology intrusion and privacy concerns during the pandemic

Important dates:

First submission: October 1, 2020

Final submission: July 31, 2021

Publication of the special issue: March 1, 2022

For more details, click here

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