Purpose – The paper, covering the actual argument of open innovation, aims to answer two main research questions, namely: “Which open innovation approach is adopted by the companies belonging to the ICTs industry?” and “Which types of collaborations are carried out by the companies and which are the dynamics that characterize it?”. Design/methodology/approach – In order to answer the research questions a multiple case study methodology is adopted. The research framework was structured in three main phases: first, a literature review on the matter of open innovation in general and within the ICTs industry in particular, as well as of the specific features of the industry investigated, was carried out. Second, a list of questions containing the main issues that arose from the previous step has been designed for the case study protocol, to be used in the following structured interviews. Finally, structured direct interviews were conducted on three important Italian companies active in the telecommunications area. Findings – Results highlighted different ways to manage the open innovation processes, based on teamwork or task forces, and the different roles, more or less proactive, that an information communication technology (ICT) company may undertake within this process. Moreover, they show that ICT companies acquire external knowledge and skills mainly from universities and research centers, as well as from value chain’s actors (suppliers in primis). Originality/value – Still little attention has been paid to the understanding of the open innovation approach of Italian firms belonging to the ICT industry, thus the authors believe that this paper may represent a valuable basis for future research on the open innovation issues in the field of ICT.
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