Title: Open innovation as a driver for new organisations: a qualitative analysis of green-tech start-ups

Authors: Stefanie Pakura

Addresses: Chair of Management and Digital Markets, University of Hamburg, Germany

Abstract: Start-ups, to which two-thirds of radical sustainable innovations are credited, have been identified as the driving force of the green-tech industry. Linking green-tech start-ups with open innovation, this study used semi-structured expert interviews to identify key partners for open innovation, providing insights into core opportunities and risks emerging in the innovation process. The results showed that green-tech start-ups rely on both inbound and outbound innovation. The study identified key open innovation network partners, namely academic institutes, support platforms/other start-ups, incumbent firms, and customers. Although opportunities and risks appear to be partner-specific, they can be related to three distinct levels of impact: firm development, technology development, and technology commercialisation. Synergetic partnerships, such as R&D collaborations with universities and incumbent firms, create opportunities at all three levels. Risks affect particularly the level of technology and of firm development. This paper contributes to the literature through key findings addressing five propositions.

Keywords: green entrepreneurship; green tech companies; green start-ups; social entrepreneurship; sustainable innovation; open innovation; innovation process; openness; external partnerships; open innovation partners; green technology; new organisations; experts interviews; qualitative research; Germany.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEV.2020.105135

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing, 2020 Vol.12 No.1, pp.109 - 142

Received: 18 Mar 2019
Accepted: 18 Apr 2019

Published online: 13 Feb 2020 *

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