With whom and how SMEs share their Open Innovation journey?

Antonis Livieratos, George Tsekouras, Wim Vanhaverbeke, Georgia Tsaliki

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBNpeer-review


    The paper is building on the 'OI move' concept developed to disentangle the OI journey. Two of the most important aspects of an OI move are knowledge inflows (who is the SME innovating with?) and knowledge outflows (who is exploiting the result?). Combining all options of these two aspects forms a typology of 24 types of OI moves for SMEs pursuing open innovation (Livieratos et al., 2020). Using this typology as a coding framework, previous research indicated on the OI moves followed by SMEs in an OI journey (Livieratos et al., 2020). However, not much is known about the sequence of OI moves that form pathways leading to more successful outcomes. To this end, the aim of the research is to define patterns of successful pathways in OI journeys of SMEs.

    Based on 106 case studies of European innovative SMEs a dataset of 500 OI moves were extracted, the sequence of these OI moves in each of the investigated case studies as well a success rate for each one of the OI moves. Data analysis conducted using association analysis resulted 32 rules of successful pathways of SMEs’ OI journeys presented in a dynamic social network type of graph. 

    Main findings up to this point indicate that from the total range of twenty-four possible OI moves, only ten are really important for OI journeys and in particular four play a major role in SMEs' OI journeys: collaboration with R&D service providers, with complementary partners and with customers and users, all of them associate with internal exploitation. These four OI moves that play a major role have a mutually reinforcing effect, with a virtuous cycle leading to more success over time. 

    Recognizing OI as a sequence of related decisions provides a richer and more refined picture of how OI is successfully practiced by SMEs so to deliver value for them. Finally, the identified successful OI pathways provide practitioners a 'recommended rule of thumb' when selecting the next OI moves based on OI journeys that worked well for other SMEs.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationXXXI ISPIM Innovation Conference 2020
    Subtitle of host publicationInnovating in times of crisis
    PublisherLappeenranta University Press
    ISBN (Print)9789523354678
    Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2020
    EventXXXI ISPIM Innovation Conference: Innovating in times of Crisis - Virtual
    Duration: 7 Jun 202010 Jun 2020

    Publication series

    NameTutkimusraportit – Research Reports
    ISSN (Print)2243-3376


    ConferenceXXXI ISPIM Innovation Conference
    Abbreviated titleXXXI ISPIM
    Internet address


    • Open Innovation
    • SMEs
    • Open Innovation move
    • Business strategy
    • Association analysis


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