Open Innovation, a term that is not 20 years old, refers to managing the flow of knowledge between the internal and external parts of an organization for the purpose of innovation (Chesbrough 2003). At a time when available resources are dwindling and opportunities for collaboration are increasing, this concept seems a reasonable way forward. However, in order to move away from a dominant model of innovation that relies mainly on internal resources and to be able to call on external resources efficiently, three main challenges still need to be met: identifying and attracting partners that are relevant to the firm, successfully integrating them into the firm's design processes, and successfully exploiting innovations that come from external partners (West and Bogers 2017).
The academic and professional literature has identified useful concepts and general principles for addressing these challenges, the common denominator of which is that the obstacles to successful open innovation come first and foremost from the internal characteristics of the organization. Thus, the early work of Cohen and Levinthal (1990) showed that the existence of internal R&D capacities is a necessary condition to attract, recognize and integrate relevant partners: Internal R&D and Open Innovation should not be thought of as substitute capacities but as complementary. Many more recent works analyse the organisational levers and processes implemented in companies to improve Open Innovation performance (Ben Mahmoud-Jouini et al. 2019, Ben Mahmoud-Jouin and Charue-Duboc 2018, Urbinati et al. 2020; Chesbrough, Vanhaverbeke, and West 2014, Servajean-Hilst, R et al. 2018, Servajean-Hilst 2019, Servajean-Hilst, R., and Ben Mahmoud-Jouini S. 2019, Chiambaretto et al 2019 Thompson, Bonnet, and Ye 2020)). They are cells specifically dedicated to the management of these Open Innovation processes, business incubators or accelerators aimed at integrating start-ups within the company, processes ranging from the identification of strategic skills to be acquired to the framing of the co-design relationship with the start-up to the follow-up after its operation by the business units.