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Can open innovation drive more sustainable SMEs?: Evidence from energy-intensive sectors in Italy
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.), Entrepreneurship and innovation. Politecnico di Milano.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3970-7102
Politecnico di Milano. (Department of Management, Economics & Industrial Engineering)
Politecnico di Milano. (Department of Management, Economics & Industrial Engineering)
2014 (English)Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In recent years, opening up the innovation process has increasingly gained the attention in theory and practice. Previous studies have focused on studying the influence of open innovation mainly on the firm´s economic-financial and innovation performance. Despite all the attention given to open innovation effects, few studies have investigated its role in developing more sustainable organizations in different dimensions. This study aims to fill this gap by studying the sustainability performance operationalized with energy efficiency in the context of energy-intensive sectors such as foundries. Using the information collected from 30 small- and medium-sized firms in Italy, this paper analyses the relationship between Open Innovation practices and three indicators of energy efficiency: specific energy consumption, adoption rate of energy-efficient technologies and barriers to energy efficiency. The study confirms the value of internal R&D and inbound open innovation for firms to be energy efficient, while outbound open innovation is not a common and, therefore, relevant practice. Taken together, the findings suggest that firms in these sectors can and should use open innovation practices to increase their overall sustainable performance while on parallel influencing other performance dimensions. The findings of this exploratory study suggest several courses of action for policy makers and managers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
open innovation, open innovation effects, sustainable performance, energy efficiency, energy-intensive sectors, SMEs
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies
Research subject
Industrial Engineering and Management
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-156825ISBN: 97888-6493-022-0OAI: diva2:768004
The 1st Annual EDIM PhD Conference: Research Challenges in Contemporary Management Engineering, Milan (Italy), 11th – 12th June 2014

QC 20141208

Available from: 2014-12-02 Created: 2014-12-02 Last updated: 2014-12-08Bibliographically approved

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