management
& marketing
Challenges for the Knowledge Society
ISSN 2069–8887
ISSN-L 1842-0206
The official journal of the
Society for Business Excellence
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Management & Marketing no. 2/2013

A risk mitigation model in SME’s open innovation projects
Abstract. SMEs are slightly overlooked in the open innovation literature, which provides a scarcity of studies on the risks residing in open innovation projects involving SMEs and even fewer attempts to assess the mitigation potential of these dangers. The limited literature written on SMEs and open innovation highlights the motives, the benefits and the barriers these engines of economy confront when embarking in open innovation projects. However, no particular attempt to further the research into managing and mitigating the effective risks triggered by open innovation in SMEs was found. Based on a survey conducted on 211 Romanian SMEs in the Romanian financial services and consultancy sector, this paper both explores the risks affecting the innovation performance of SMEs in collaborative relationships, and seeks to provide a conceptual model for overcoming these threats. Within the survey, our work highlights that open innovation in Romanian SMEs is impeded by risks related to insufficient financial resources, inexperienced, unmotivated and unwilling to cooperate people, poor adaptation to technological advances in the industry, knowledge sharing risks, weak social capital and noteworthy regulation risks. The research results indicate six factors as main risk mitigators: transparent communication among innovators, trust building, people empowerment, organizational learning and investment in knowledge, leadership, vision and convictions, proactiveness towards unethical behaviour. By undertaking this study we aim to contribute to the scarce literature on open innovation practices in Romanian SMEs and to shed light on the factors that a firm needs to approach in order to foster a culture for innovation and, in the same time, reduce the open innovation risks.
Keyword: open innovation, SME, risks, innovation performance, collaboration.
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