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We are proud to introduce this special edition, containing three regular papers and four papers that were initially presented at the 1st Cambridge Academic Design Management Conference (CADMC) in September 2011.

This inaugural Cambridge Academic Design Management Conference was organized to celebrate the field of Design Management. Many established conferences address associated fields such as Innovation Management and New Product Development (NPD). However, outside of the Design Management Institute organized events, there was no academic forum for design management. The organizers aimed to redress this by providing an opportunity for established and new academics to share their research on a broad range of topics. The conference specifically aimed to support quality research and facilitate critical discussion in an open and friendly atmosphere, in line with the ethos of Cambridge, a city that has thrived on academic debate for over 800 years.

In total, nearly 100 abstracts were submitted and 50 papers presented. From these, the four papers presented in this journal were invited to submit papers for review.

This special edition begins with two papers that are seeking to explore the Design Management domain in order to understand how the field is evolving. Erichsen and Christensen review papers on Design Management over the period 2000 to 2010 to identify some interesting patterns and opportunities for future research. Design-enabled value creation emerges as a critical theme and suggests that future work might address ways in which the business and user are considered. Johansson-Sköldberg, Woodilla and Çetinkaya then present a stimulating overview of the way in which design thinking has evolved into a mainstream concept. They compare ‘designerly thinking’ with ‘design thinking’, which emerged separately from the design and management domains, and conclude that much of the literature fails to adequately bridge these two complementary perspectives.

Next, Acklin presents a paper exploring the way in which design management practices are absorbed by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who have no prior design expertise. From this, an original framework that explores the design management and design leadership capabilities needed for effective design management absorption in SMEs is presented. Finally, Miller and Moultrie develop the theme of design leadership within the fashion retail industry and seek to identify the characteristics of effective design leaders. They identify that whilst design acumen is not essential for design managers, design leaders need to possess both managerial as well as design skills.

Design Management as a domain is increasingly important, as firms look to compete in new ways. The CADMC conference and this special edition mark a new opportunity for research in this domain, which will be continued with a second conference in September 2013.

This issue contains three regular papers. Rass, Dumbach, Danzinger, Bullinger and Moeslein examine the role of social relations and networks in open innovation settings. Building on open innovation literature and social capital theory, they propose a model that positions social capital as a mediator between the implementation of open innovation instruments and firm performance. Parmentier and Gandia explore the role of a toolkit for the relations with user communities in a longitudinal case study of the videogame Trackmania. Innovating with a user community appears an effective strategy for developing a firm's innovation capacity, but to profit optimally from this collaboration, firms try to develop a sustainable relationship with users. This paper contributes to the understanding of the way in which user toolkits can serve to manage innovation. The final paper of this issue, by David and Patricia Turnipseed, investigates the relationship between an innovative organizational climate and organizational citizenship behaviour (OCB). Based on a survey study in a financial services firm, the authors conclude that, in general, OCB is not linked positively to an innovative organizational context. They suggest that the OCB construct and its implementation in organizations needs re-examination.

To conclude, we announce that the editorial board has chosen the winners of the 2012 Tudor Rickards and Susan Moger Best Paper Award: Jens Hamphälä and Mats Magnusson, with their paper ‘Networks for Innovation – But What Networks and What Innovation?’. Runners-up are Marcel Bogers and Joe West with ‘Managing Distributed Innovation: Strategic Utilization of Open and User Innovation’, Özge Çokpekin and Mette Præst Knudsen with ‘Does Organizing for Creativity Really Lead to Innovation?’, and Sabrina Adamczyk, Angelika Bullinger and Kathrin Moeslein with ‘Innovation Contests: A Review, Classification and Outlook’. Congratulations! The papers are freely downloadable at the website of Creativity and Innovation Management.