Definition and delimitation
Digital innovations are innovations that result from the innovative use of digital technologies. [ 1, 2] A central characteristic of digital innovations is that they are formed by the combination of an innovative professional solution and an innovative technical solution.  An example of this is the combination of an online news service (innovative professional solution) with a machine-learning-based recommendation system (innovative technical solution).
Based on these two perspectives, two triggers for the emergence of digital innovation can also be distinguished. On the one hand, new professional, business or social requirements can be the trigger for digital innovation (“technology pull”). On the other hand, new digital technologies can also trigger the development of digital innovations (“technology push”).  The developments associated with the digital transformation can primarily be assigned to the second type.
The effects can be assigned to three levels. At the individual level, digital innovations change the everyday life of employees and end consumers in many ways.
At the organisational level, digital innovations lead to a change in internal procedures and processes. For example, the targeted use of digital technologies can often increase the efficiency and effectiveness of processes. On the other hand, the “offer” of the organisations to their target groups changes.  In companies, for example, this is a change in value creation through digital innovation in the area of products; in schools and universities, the digitalisation of teaching and research; in public authorities, a shift in citizen interaction to digital platforms; in social and medical institutions, support for care and provision through technological tools. In order for this internal and external change to succeed in organisations, digital innovation needs to be managed starting with the roles and processes in the organisation, as well as creating conditions for digital innovation, in the area of organisational culture, IT landscape and skills. 
Digital innovation also has a number of implications at the societal level. Framework conditions must be defined with laws and regulations (e.g. monopoly legislation), and important preconditions can be created with state subsidies (e.g. subsidies for mobile phone expansion). However, public bodies themselves are also changing as a result of digital innovations, for example in the area of administration (e.g. online tax returns) or in public enterprises (e.g. the services offered by public broadcasters). The influence of digital innovation at the political level is also expressed in particular in the different approaches to managing digitalisation by the individual federal states. 
The concept of integrated consideration of professional and technical solutions in the form of digital innovations is relatively new. It was first developed in recent years for companies and thus a special form of organisation. [1, 2] In the meantime, it is often seen as the core content of the digital transformation of companies. In addition, there are initial considerations to expand the scope of the concept, both to other forms of organisations and to the societal level.
Parallel to this, the design of digital innovations is also evolving. For many decades, the main focus of the application of digital technologies was in companies. The digitisation of administration was the first step. Today, both organisational structures and the business models of entire companies are being questioned in the context of the development of digital technologies. In addition, digital innovations are also gaining in importance, for example, in government organisations and at the societal level. The concept therefore has the opportunity to act as a bracket for the integrated consideration of technical and professional innovations in different areas of design.
Application and examples
There is a multitude of digital innovations in different forms. It is important not to confuse digital technologies with digital innovations. The former is a component of the latter, nothing more.
- New forms of personal communication (e.g. via WhatsApp)
- Integration of smartphones in the car (e.g. Apple CarPlay)
- Streaming service for media content (e.g. Netflix)
- Digital administrative services (e.g. online registration of a motor vehicle)
- New forms of citizen participation
- Regulations for protection against hate speech
Criticism and problems
The academic literature has so far focused primarily on the immediate opportunities offered by digital innovations and on how companies can create the conditions for digital innovations to emerge. From the automation of simple routine tasks to the delegation of complex tasks to IT systems, digital innovations have enormous potential to change the world of work and social life. However, less attention is paid to the questions of who benefits from digital innovation and what the long-term effects of digital innovation are. Research should also address what this delegation does to people in private and professional contexts and what ethical questions arise. 
Another point of criticism is that the added value from the combination of technological and professional perspectives described at the beginning has so far been derived mainly conceptually and theoretically, but there is still little empirical evidence. It could be argued that this integrated perspective merely increases the complexity of innovation management without effectively contributing to the solution of problems. This empirical gap should be filled by future research to verify the validity of the concepts described.
Understanding and developing digital innovations is a central task of bidt. Thus, several projects are currently dealing with different questions of digital innovation. For example, the project “Digital Transformation of Automobile Manufacturers – a Question of Identity” is dedicated to the impact of digital innovations on the automotive industry.
The project “Awareness, motivation and implementation of data portability – strengthening radical and disruptive innovations through improved data portability” explores framework conditions for competition between online services and data-driven, digital innovations.
Questions of the management of digital innovations are also taken up, e.g. in the project “Digital Transformation Strategies of the Federal German States”, findings on the management of digital innovations at the state level were developed. 
A whole series of other projects also deal with digital innovations: Be it in the area of Digital Health on the topics of
- (nursing) robotics,
- palliative care
- Mixed-skill approaches – a combination of human and machine work – in industrial manufacturing.
Various junior research groups and doctoral projects focus on digital innovations in the field of bioinformatics and medicine, e.g. on the topics of
- Computational Population Modelling from Big Medical Image Data,
- Digital Phenotyping and Predictive Modelling for intelligent online-based intervention systems for the treatment and prevention of mental illness.
- Fichman, Robert G./ Dos Santos, Brian L./ Zheng, Zhiqiang: Digital Innovation as a Fundamental and Powerful Concept in the Information Systems Curriculum. MIS Quarterly (38:2), pp. 329-354. 2014.
- Nambisan, Satish/ Lyytinen, Kalle/ Majchrzak, Ann/ Song, Michael: Digital Innovation Management: Reinventing Innovation Management Research in a Digital World. MIS Quarterly (41:1), pp. 223-238. 2017.
- Wiesböck, Florian/ Hess, Thomas: Digital Innovations – Embedding in Organizations. Electronic Markets (30:1), pp. 75-86. 2020.
 Fichman, Robert G./ Dos Santos, Brian L./ Zheng, Zhiqiang: Digital Innovation as a Fundamental and Powerful Concept in the Information Systems Curriculum. MIS Quarterly (38:2), pp. 329-354. 2014.
 Yoo, Youngjin/ Boland Jr, Richard J./ Lyytinen, Kalle/ and Majchrzak, Ann: Organizing for Innovation in the Digitized World. Organization Science (23:5), pp. 1398-1408. 2012
 Nambisan, Satish/ Lyytinen, Kalle/ Majchrzak, Ann/ Song, Michael: Digital Innovation Management: Reinventing Innovation Management Research in a Digital World. MIS Quarterly (41:1), pp. 223-238. 2017.
 Wiesböck, Florian/ Hess, Thomas: Digital Innovations – Embedding in Organizations. Electronic Markets (30:1), pp. 75-86. 2020.
 Kohli, Rajiv/ Melville, Nigel P.: Digital Innovation: A Review and Synthesis. Information Systems Journal (29:1), pp. 200-223. 2019.