The importance for a start-up to trust in open innovation: A systematic literature review


  • Katia Mastrostefano University of Cassino and Southern Lazio
  • Gustavo Morales-Alonso
  • Marco Greco
  • Michele Grimaldi
  • Jose Antonio Blanco-Serrano



It has long been known that new firms are fundamental for economic growth. Starting new companies is one of the best ways to fight unemployment and to generate well-being. Therefore, attention is paid by the scientific community to start-ups, with particular empha-sis at how they generate, acquire and manage innovation. Initially, start-ups need to identify the resources necessary for innovation and later they will decide whether to develop them internally or acquire them externally. Being open to external sources is a crucial point for the success of new ventures; indeed, adopting Open Innovation processes allows start-ups to overcome their initial shortcomings. The goal of this research is to understand the literature status related to Open Innovation adoption by start-ups.


Alberti, F. G., & Pizzurno, E. (2017). Oops, I did it again! Knowledge leaks in open innovation networks with start-ups. European journal of innovation management, 20(1), 50-79.

Battistella, C., De Toni, A. F., & Pessot, E. (2017). Open accelerators for start-ups success: a case study. European Journal of Innovation Management, 20(1), 80-111.

Belingheri, P. & Leone, M.I., (2017). Walking into the room with IP: exploring start-ups’ IP licensing strategy. Management Decision, 55(6), pp.1209–1225.

Blank, (2013). Why the lean start-up changes everything 63rd–72nd ed., 5.

Blank, S. & Dorf, B., 2012. The startup owner’s manual: The step-by-step guide for building a great company.

Bogers, M., (2011). The open innovation paradox: knowledge sharing and protection in R&D collaborations. European Journal of Innovation Management, 14(1), pp.93–117.

Carree, M. A., & Thurik, A. R. (2010). The impact of entrepreneurship on economic growth. In Z. J. Acs & D. B. Audretsch (Eds.), Handbook of Entrepreneurship Research: An Interdisciplinary Survey and Introduction (2nd ed., pp. 557–594). New York, Dordrecht, Heidelberg and London: SPRINGER.

Chesbrough, H., Vanhaverbeke, W., & West, J., (2006). Open innovation: Researching a new paradigm, Oxford University Press on Demand.

Chesbrough, H., (2003). Open innovation: The new imperative for creating and profiting from technology, Harvard Business School Press, Boston.

Eftekhari, N. & Bogers, M., (2015). Open for Entrepreneurship: How Open Innovation Can Foster New Venture Creation. Creativity and Innovation Management, 24(4), pp.574–584.

Gassmann, O. & Enkel, E., (2004). Towards a theory of open innovation: three core process archetypes.

Gassmann, O., Enkel, E. & Chesbrough, H., (2010). The future of open innovation. R&D Management, 40(3), pp.213–221.

Ghezzi, A., Gastaldi, L., Lettieri, E., Martini, A., & Corso, M. (2016). A role for startups in unleashing the disruptive power of social media. International Journal of Information Management, 36(6), 1152-1159.

Gruber, M. & Henkel, J., (2006). New ventures based on open innovation an empirical analysis of start-up firms in embedded Linux. International Journal of Technology Management, 33(4), p.356.

Hasche, N., Linton, G. & Öberg, C., (2017). Trust in open innovation – the case of a med-tech start-up. European Journal of Innovation Management, 20(1), pp.31–49.

Hsieh, C.-T., Huang, H.-C. & Lee, W.-L., (2016). Using transaction cost economics to explain open innovation in start-ups. Management Decision, 54(9), pp.2133–2156.

Jackson, P. & Richter, N., (2017). Situational Logic: an Analysis of Open Innovation Using Corporate Accelerators. International Journal of Innovation Management, 21(07), p.1750062.

Jackson, P., Richter, N., & Schildhauer, T. (2015). Open Innovation with digital startups using Corporate Acelerators–A review of the current state of research. Zeitschrift für Politikberatung (ZPB)/Policy Advice and Political Consulting, 7(4), 152-159.

Janssen, W., Bouwman, H., van Buuren, R., & Haaker, T. (2014). An organizational competence model for innovation intermediaries. European Journal of Innovation Management, 17(1), 2-24.

Johnsen, T., Miemczyk, J. & Management, M.H., (2017). A systematic literature review of sustainable purchasing and supply research: Theoretical perspectives and opportunities for IMP-based research. Industrial Marketing Management, (61), pp.130–143.

de Jong, J.P. & Freel, M., (2010). Absorptive capacity and the reach of collaboration in high technology small firms. Research Policy, 39(1), pp.47–54.

Kohler, T., (2016). Corporate accelerators: Building bridges between corporations and startups. Business Horizons, 59(3), pp.347–357.

Livieratos, A.D. & Lepeniotis, P., (2017). Corporate venture capital programs of European electric utilities: Motives, trends, strategies and challenges. Electricity Journal, 30(2), pp.30–40.

Michelino, F., Cammarano, A., Lamberti, E., & Caputo, M. (2017). Open innovation for start-ups: A patent-based analysis of bio-pharmaceutical firms at the knowledge domain level. European Journal of Innovation Management, 20(1), 112-134.

Minshall, T., Mortara, L., Valli, R., & Probert, D. (2010). Making “asymmetric” partnerships work. Research-Technology Management, 53(3), 53-63.

Morales-Alonso, G., Pablo-Lerchundi, I. & Núñez-Del-Río, M.-C., (2016). Entrepreneurial intention of engineering students and associated influence of contextual factors. Revista de Psicología Social, 31(1), pp.75–108.

Neyens, I., Faems, D. & Sels, L., (2010). The impact of continuous and discontinuous alliance strategies on startup innovation performance. International Journal of Technology Management, 52(3/4), p.392.

Piva, E. & Lamastra, C.R., (2012). Does free/open source software enable new forms of entrepreneurship? An analysis of the start-ups created to exploit the business opportunities stemming from free/open source software. International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management, 16(3/4), p.173.

Radas, S. & Božić, L., (2009). The antecedents of SME innovativeness in an emerging transition economy. Technovation, 29(6–7), pp.438–450.

Spender, J. C., Corvello, V., Grimaldi, M., & Rippa, P. (2017). Startups and open innovation: a review of the literature. European Journal of Innovation Management, 20(1), 4-30.

Usman, M. & Vanhaverbeke, W., (2017). How start-ups successfully organize and manage open innovation with large companies. European Journal of Innovation Management, 20(1), pp.171–186.

van Gils, M.J.G.M. & Rutjes, F.P.J.T., (2017). Accelerating chemical start-ups in ecosystems: the need for biotopes. European Journal of Innovation Management, 20(1), pp.135–152.

Wennekers, S., & Thurik, R., (1999). Linking entrepreneurship and economic growth. Small business economics, 13(1), pp.27–56.




How to Cite

Mastrostefano, K., Morales-Alonso, G., Greco, M., Grimaldi, M., & Blanco-Serrano, J. A. (2020). The importance for a start-up to trust in open innovation: A systematic literature review. Economics and Business Letters, 9(4), 289–297.