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Strategic application of outbound open innovation

Antero Kutvonen (Kouvola Research Unit, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Kouvola, Finland)

European Journal of Innovation Management

ISSN: 1460-1060

Article publication date: 4 October 2011




This paper aims to examine the strategic dimension of outbound open innovation (OOI) with a focus on identifying strategic objectives for exploiting knowledge externally. It reviews the literature, presents a list of strategic objectives, and introduces a novel categorization.


A literature review of works combining strategy, and OOI lead to conceptualizing an array of strategic benefits including novel concepts. The review focuses on the empirical observations reported by previous research.


This paper presents the most comprehensive description of strategic objectives that may be pursued by OOI, with several case examples. Objectives are classified to six categories: gaining access to new knowledge, multiplication of own technologies, learning from knowledge transfer, controlling technological trajectories, external exploitation as a core business model and exerting control over the market environment.

Research limitations/implications

The paper limits itself to discussing the non‐monetary objectives and incentives for engaging in outbound OI, or in other words, the potential that outbound OI has in creating strategic business opportunities.

Practical implications

For the manager, acknowledging the external opportunities for a firm's knowledge assets allows shifting from “just profit” externalization to a more strategic control over the company's future and its environment.


Whereas the common viewpoint in connecting between strategy and OOI is to minimize the negative impact, while retaining monetary benefits, this paper views OOI as an enabler of further strategic mobility and flexibility. The categorized list of strategic objectives also includes some novel additions to current understanding.



Kutvonen, A. (2011), "Strategic application of outbound open innovation", European Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. 14 No. 4, pp. 460-474.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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