Is open innovation supporting sustainable innovation? Findings based on a systematic, explorative analysis of existing literature

Romana Rauter*, Elke Perl-Vorbach, Rupert J. Baumgartner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Open innovation (OI) and sustainable innovation (SI) are concepts that are contested, but widely used, both in business practices as well as in management science. This systematic, explorative analysis of literature focuses on the clarification of the concept of OI for SI from a company perspective and provides a comprehensive literature review. By qualitatively analysing 19 papers that were published between 2003 and 2015, we show that OI is an important concept for SI, although its concrete application and impacts still remain debatable. The analysis presented contributes to existing research by linking OI and SI and clarifying the concepts. Our results imply that future research areas of interest include the social dimensions of SIs or OI in the context of life-cycle-thinking, but also support practitioners by providing a discussion of practical cases whereby OI practices have been applied within a sustainability context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-270
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Content analysis
  • Literature analysis
  • Open innovation
  • Sustainable innovation
  • Sustainable open innovation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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