Rouyre Audrey

Open innovation (Chesbrough, 2003) describes an ecosystem of firms open to each other that drives their innovation processes outside the boundary of the firms. Companies can collaborate with all types of actors, and especially competitors. On one hand, in the literature on open innovation, innovation relationships between competitors, are rarely acceptable and are difficult to implement, because it can rise issues about the sharing of resources. On the other hand, in the literature of coopetition, competitors can collaborate to innovate and allow them to enhances their competitiveness (Brandenburger and Nalebuff, 1996). These literature is focused on the relationship between only two competitors. In fact, the literature does not analyze in details what happens if several competitors and partners collaborate together. However, being a paradoxical approach, it generates tensions and conflicts, particularly because of knowledge transfer and asymmetrical learning effects and the management is a key element in the success of these projects (Fernandez et al, 2014). To show that researchers may have an interest in studying open innovation between competitors and its management in the space industry, we have set up an exploratory method. The latter is based on a dozen interviews in the space industry with industry experts and companies. Thanks to this exploratory method, we were able to discover open innovation projects between competitors like the Galileo GPS satellite positioning system, the MBDA System missile and the "Satellites for 5G" initiative. Through these projects, we were able to get an overview of the issues, the benefits, the possible tensions and the management put in place in open innovation projects between competitors. With this paper, we try to show that open innovation between competitors is a subject that deserves special attention and that this topic is well worth analyzing.