Open Innovation in Start-ups and the Role of an Incubator in the Process

Eric Maximilian Lauer

Student thesis: Master thesis


Purpose: The aim of this study has been to investigate the concept of open innovation from a start-up perspective and how an incubator can support this process. Methodology: This is achieved through reviewing the literature in regard to open innovation, open innovation in smaller companies, and on the incubator. Then a case study approach is used by investigating two incubators and four start-ups, who have participated in the incubation programs, through the use of interviews. Findings: This study suggests that start-ups engage in open innovation, they do so in order to access important tangible and intangible resources, which they do not possess themselves. In addition, through the interaction with the external environment, open innovation, can further the credibility of the start-ups. Open innovation can be seen as a natural part of a start-up because of the scarcity such entities face. Regarding the support of an incubator for the open innovation approach of their start-ups, this study suggests three important aspects. First, the network of the incubator. In addition to this the credibility of the incubator can be an asset when interacting with the external environment. Finally, incubators can create an open environment and encourage the startups to engage with external partners. Originality: Much of the existing research on open innovation covers the phenomenon in larger companies or SMEs. The findings of such studies might not be transferrable to startups, because of the nature of new ventures. Hence this study aims to contribute to the understanding of open innovation in start-ups, which is a relatively under researched field

EducationsMSc in Management of Innovation and Business Development, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages70