European Trends in Business Incubation Through open Innovation Approach


  • Iveta Cirule BIORGANIK5 Ltd
  • Inga Uvarova
  • Ginta Caune



open innovation, open innovation strategies, business incubator, business incubation trends, value co-creation


The open innovation (OI) is the actual framework for exploiting external resources and wider networks in doing innovation instead of just operating with in-house resources. Business incubators ensure networking and facilitate OI collaborations both inside the incubator among entrepreneurs and outside with external stakeholders.

The purpose of the qualitative study is to identify the European trends in business incubation through OI approach by setting two main tasks – 1) identify business incubation trends and 2) validate these theoretical findings by conducting the empirical study in Latvia business incubators and 3) draw the conclusions for business incubation practitioners in order to improve business incubation from OI perspective.

The qualitative research methods applied – 1) literature review on business incubation trends, OI approach in business incubation such as service provision, online and onsite incubation, tenant OI competences and strategies, co-creation and collaboration and 2) the empirical qualitative research in Latvia business incubators by conducting incubator management (13) interviews.

The results proved that the main national trends dominant and present in Latvian business incubation are corresponding to the European trends, namely, 1) incubators are serving as OI partners and are recognized by tenants as access providers to external resources ands networks; 2) networking as facilitating activity of the  inside-out and outside-in OI strategies; 3) tenants’ OI strategies and motivation as well as variety of OI partners (experts, mentors, clients, companies, researchers, universities) promote the better incubation results in terms of ideas validated, product developed, companies created and innovation implemented. These results are in line with the main findings on European trends from a literature review perspective.

This article provides national findings on OI application in business incubation as the empirical novelty for business incubation practitioners, academia, entrepreneurship support policy makers and tenants internationally detecting the crucial role of OI activities applied in business incubation and incubators as OI partners. Business incubation trend analysis through Open innovation approach is a novelty of this research.

Key words: open innovation, open innovation strategies, business incubator, business incubation trends, value co-creation


This research was conducted within the project “Open Innovation, No1.1.1.2/VIAA/3/19/426” funded by Postdoctoral Research Support Aid programme of Latvia.


Bank, N., Fichter, K., & Klofsten, M. (2017). Sustainability-profiled incubators and securing the inflow of tenants–The case of Green Garage Berlin. Journal of Cleaner Production, 157, 76-83.

Barile, S., Grimaldi, M., Loia, F., & Sirianni, C. A. (2020). Technology, value Co-Creation and innovation in service ecosystems: Toward sustainable Co-Innovation. Sustainability, 12(7), 2759.

Bøllingtoft, A. (2012). The bottom-up business incubator: Leverage to networking and cooperation practices in a self-generated, entrepreneurial-enabled environment. Technovation, 32(5), 304-315.

Carayannis, E. G., Campbell, D. F., & Grigoroudis, E. (2021). Helix trilogy: The triple, quadruple, and quintuple innovation helices from a theory, policy, and practice set of perspectives. Journal of the Knowledge Economy, 1-30.

Chesbrough, H. (2003). The logic of open innovation: managing intellectual property. California management review, 45(3), 33-58.

Chesbrough, H. W. (2006). The era of open innovation. Managing innovation and change, 127(3), 34-41

Chesbrough, H., Lettl, C., & Ritter, T. (2018). Value creation and value capture in open innovation. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 35(6), 930-938.

Cirule, I., Maria Grama, S. A., Ludviga, I., & Kreituss, I. (2017). Open Innovation Strategies and Business Incubation Service Impact on the Success of Incubation. In Economic Science for Rural Development Conference Proceedings, No. 44, p36-43. 8p.

Clausen, T., & Rasmussen, E. (2011). Open innovation policy through intermediaries: the industry incubator programme in Norway. Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, 23(1), 75-85.

Dell'Era, C., & Landoni, P. (2014). Living Lab: A methodology between user‐centred design and participatory design. Creativity and Innovation Management, 23(2), 137-154.

De Silva, M., & Wright, M. (2019). Entrepreneurial co‐creation: societal impact through open innovation. R&D Management, 49(3), 318-342.

DIYbiosphere (n.d.). DIYbiosphere initiatives browse by location. Retrieved May 16, 2022, from

Do Nascimento S., F., Angela, M. & Alessia, G. (2014). From Citizen Science to Do It Yourself Science An annotated account of an on-going movement, Publications Office of the European Union. Retrieved May 20, 2022, from

Du Chatenier, E., Verstegen, J. A., Biemans, H. J., Mulder, M., & Omta, O. S. F. (2010). Identification of competencies for professionals in open innovation teams. R&d Management, 40(3), 271-280.

Edwards‐Schachter, M. E., Matti, C. E., & Alcántara, E. (2012). Fostering quality of life through social innovation: A living lab methodology study case. Review of policy research, 29(6), 672-692.

ENoLL (n.d.). European Network of Living Labs - Discover Living Labs. Retrieved May 17, 2022, from

EC (European Commission). (2019). Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. The European Green Deal. Brussels, 11.12.2019

Fukugawa, N. (2013). Which factors do affect success of business incubators. Journal of Advanced Management Science, 1(1), 71-74.

Fichter, K., & Hurrelmann, K. (2021). Sustainability-oriented business incubation: framing and supporting sustainable entrepreneurship. In Handbook of Research on Business and Technology Incubation and Acceleration (pp. 478-495). Edward Elgar Publishing.

Gao, Q., Cui, L., Lew, Y. K., Li, Z., & Khan, Z. (2021). Business incubators as international knowledge intermediaries: Exploring their role in the internationalization of start-ups from an emerging market. Journal of International Management, 27(4), 100861.

Geissdoerfer, M., Savaget, P., Bocken, N. M., & Hultink, E. J. (2017). The Circular Economy–A new sustainability paradigm?. Journal of cleaner production, 143, 757-768.

Giudici, A., Reinmoeller, P., & Ravasi, D. (2018). Open-system orchestration as a relational source of sensing capabilities: Evidence from a venture association. Academy of Management Journal, 61(4), 1369-1402.

Grama-Vigouroux, S., & Royer, I. (2020). Impact of stakeholders and collaborative innovation on value creation of incubated start-ups: The case of Romanian business incubators. Innovations, 62(2), 129-160.

Grama, S., & Royer, I. (2013). Competencies for open innovation for entrepreneurs in technological incubators: an empirical test in Romania. Revue de lEntrepreneuriat, 12(3), 33-58.

Gassmann, O. & Enkel, E. (2004). Towards a Theory of Open Innovation: Three Core Process Archetypes. R&D Management Conference (RADMA), Lisbon.

Halkos, G., & Gkampoura, E. C. (2021). Where do we stand on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals? An overview on progress. Economic Analysis and Policy, 70, 94-122.

Hasche, N., Höglund, L., & Linton, G. (2020). Quadruple helix as a network of relationships: creating value within a Swedish regional innovation system. Journal of Small Business & Entrepreneurship, 32(6), 523-544.

Hausberg, J. P., & Korreck, S. (2021). Business incubators and accelerators: a co-citation analysis-based, systematic literature review. Handbook of Research on Business and Technology Incubation and Acceleration, 39-63.

Hull, C. E., Millette, S., & Williams, E. (2021). Challenges and opportunities in building circular-economy incubators: Stakeholder perspectives in Trinidad and Tobago. Journal of Cleaner Production, 296, 126412.

Irani, L. (2015). Hackathons and the making of entrepreneurial citizenship. Science, Technology, & Human Values, 40(5), 799-824.

Klofsten, M., & Bienkowska, D. (2021). Business incubators within entrepreneurial ecosystems: sustainability aspects of new venture support and development. In Handbook of Research on Business and Technology Incubation and Acceleration. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Klofsten, M., Lundmark, E., Wennberg, K., & Bank, N. (2020). Incubator specialization and size: Divergent paths towards operational scale. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 151, 119821.

Lapointe, D. and Guimont, D. (2015), "Open innovation practices adopted by private stakeholders: perspectives for living labs", Info, Vol. 17 No. 4, pp. 67-80.

Markovic, S., Bagherzadeh, M., Dubiel, A., Cheng, J., & Vanhaverbeke, W. (2020). Do not miss the Boat to Outside-in Open Innovation: Enable Your Employees. Industrial Marketing Management, No 91, pp. 152-161.

Mian, S., Lamine, W., & Fayolle, A. (2016). Technology Business Incubation: An overview of the state of knowledge. Technovation, 50, 1-12.

Musteen, M., Datta, D. K., & Francis, J. (2014). Early internationalization by firms in transition economies into developed markets: The role of international networks. Global Strategy Journal, 4(3), 221-237.

Johnson, P., & Robinson, P. (2014). Civic hackathons: Innovation, procurement, or civic engagement?. Review of policy research, 31(4), 349-357.

Ngongoni C.N. & Grobbelaar S. S. S. (2017), Value co-creation in entrepreneurial ecosystems: Learnings from a Norwegian perspective, IEEE AFRICON, 2017, pp. 707-713, doi: 10.1109/AFRCON.2017.8095569.

Porter, M. E. (2021). The Changing Role of Business in Society. Retrieved May 15, 2022, from

Sarpong, D., Ofosu, G., Botchie, D., & Clear, F. (2020). Do-it-yourself (DiY) science: the proliferation, relevance and concerns. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 158, 120127.

Theodoraki, C., Messeghem, K., & Rice, M. P. (2018). A social capital approach to the development of sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystems: an explorative study. Small Business Economics, 51(1), 153-170.

Tsai, F. S., Hsieh, L. H., Fang, S. C., & Lin, J. L. (2009). The co-evolution of business incubation and national innovation systems in Taiwan. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 76(5), 629-643.

UN (2021). The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2021. New York: United Nations. Retrieved May 9, 2022, from

Uvarova, I., Platonova, I., Rascevska, Z., Volkova, T., & Atstaja, D. (2021, June). The value co-creation in circular business models: Quadruplex Helix perspective. In Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on New Business Models: New Business Models in a Decade of Action: Sustainable, Evidence-Based, Impactful, Halmstad, Sweden (pp. 9-11).

Vallance, P., Tewdwr-Jones, M., & Kempton, L. (2020). Building collaborative platforms for urban innovation: Newcastle City Futures as a quadruple helix intermediary. European Urban and Regional Studies, 27(4), 325-341.

Vanhaverbeke, W., Frattini, F., Roijakkers, N., & Usman, M. (Eds.). (2018). Researching open innovation in SMEs. World Scientific.

You, W., Chen, W., Agyapong, M., & Mordi, C. (2020). The business model of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) laboratories–A triple-layered perspective. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 159, 120205.

Zavratnik, V., Superina, A., & Stojmenova Duh, E. (2019). Living labs for rural areas: Contextualization of living lab frameworks, concepts and practices. Sustainability, 11(14), 3797.

Zukin, S. and Papadantonakis, M. (2017), "Hackathons as Co-optation Ritual: Socializing Workers and Institutionalizing Innovation in the “New” Economy", Kalleberg, A.L. and Vallas, S.P.(Ed.) Precarious Work, Research in the Sociology of Work, Vol. 31, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 157-181.

Zykienė, I., Laučienė, R., Daugėlienė, R., & Leskauskienė, A. (2021). Strengthening Lithuanian-Latvian cross-border cooperation in the context of international trade. European integration studies, (15), 138-159.






Managerial Aspects of European Integration