The Practice of Open Innovation by SMEs in the Food Industry

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S Hijrat Sadat
Sayed Nasrat


This paper examines the practice of open innovation by Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the food industry. We adopted a multiple case study approach and conducted in-depth semi-structured interviews with four food SMEs in the Flanders region of Belgium. The results of the analysis show that food SMEs practice open innovation mostly through inbound open innovation activities rather than outbound, mainly due to lack of sufficient resources. Food SMEs typically lack sufficient financial capital, technology, and human capital. Within inbound open innovation activities, collaboration with organizations is found to be a key element for food SMEs’ internal development and innovation of new products.

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