Open Innovation

(finished) SME specific Application of Outside-In Open Innovation

Field of Study


Open Innovation, Co-Creation, Stakeholder, SME, Open Innovation Methods


Due to increasing market saturation with a rising degree of globalization and the associated intensification of competition, product differentiation is becoming increasingly important for SMEs. There is a competitive advantage for companies with outstanding products based on successful innovation activities fulfilling customer needs. Open Innovation (OI) provides an approach to support innovation activities by opening to the company's environment. The basic idea of the OI is the integration of external partners. However, the application of the OI has numerous challenges for companies such as the selection of appropriate external OI partners and OI methods as well as anchoring the approach to the company. In addition, the company must determine what information is given to external OI partners and which must not be released to the outside due to know-how protection.


The research project aims to empower medium-sized companies (SMEs) to plan und run their own Open Innovation (OI) projects in order to develop knowledge and thus to secure a competitive advantage. This includes, among other things, the selection of appropriate external and/or internal innovation partners (so-called "OI Partners", such as customers, suppliers, etc.) and efficient OI measures and an adequate internal anchoring of the OI project within the company.


Based on state of the art in Open Innovation (OI) research, an approach for the implementation of OI is developed and applied within three medium-sized industrial enterprises. The procedure involves the selection of appropriate stakeholders for an OI project, the selection of suitable OI methods, the company's internal anchoring of OI and its results as well as identifying and meeting potential barriers. As a result, a web-based guide is developed, which anables midsize companies to independently carry out OI.

Project Partners

Three medium-sized industrial enterprises from Bayerische Metall- und Elektro-Arbeitsgeber bayme vbm

Project Term

March 2014 to February 2016