Removing Bottlenecks in Business Ecosystems: The Strategic Role of Outbound Open Innovation

Monica Masucci, Stefano Brusoni, Carmelo Cennamo

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This paper investigates how firms can orchestrate outbound open innovation strategically to accelerate technological progress among the firms they collaborate with, thus removing technological bottlenecks in their business ecosystem. We examine how a major oil and gas producer fostered, through its internal corporate venture unit, the development of new technologies aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of the oilfield services offered by its key providers. The comparative analysis of five innovative projects suggests that two factors were critical for the successful deployment of the proposed technologies: their potential to broaden service providers’ portfolios and the possibility to retain control over the relevant intellectual property. The concurrent presence of these two factors incentivized service providers to deploy the new technologies, aligning their interests with those of the oil major company. By revealing unexplored aspects of the interplay of inter-firm collaborations and open innovation processes, this paper extends our understanding of how firms can align the incentives and activities of other actors in their business ecosystems by strategizing their open innovation initiatives.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103823
JournalResearch Policy
Issue number1
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020

Bibliographical note

Published online: 15. October 2019


  • Business ecosystem
  • Open innovation
  • Technology bottleneck
  • Corporate venturing

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