Searching for partners in open innovation settings : how to overcome the constraints of local search

W.F. Meulman, I.M.M.J. Reymen, K.S. Podoynitsyna, A.G.L. Romme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


The search for partners in open innovation settings often consumes substantial time and managerial attention. Yet, organizations tend to get trapped in local search, which typically leads to collaboration with partners already known to them. To improve the search for partners, this article develops a tool that exploits the power of state-of-the-art information technology. In a sample of 33 search queries conducted in six innovation intermediaries, it studies differences between search with and without the use of our tool. The tests confirm the tool’s effectiveness and efficiency, and highlight the importance of searching with keywords that represent the core roles and activities of a firm, next to keywords referring to market and technology characteristics. Network visualization and semantic algorithms thus appear to facilitate the effort to identify distant partners. The article also finds that local partners are not that easy to find as commonly assumed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-97
Number of pages27
JournalCalifornia Management Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018


  • Partner search
  • Network visualization
  • Semantic algorithms
  • Open innovation
  • Alliance formation
  • Bounded rationality
  • Innovation intermediary
  • Local and distant search
  • Actionable knowledge
  • Partner identification
  • partner identification
  • local and distant search
  • open innovation
  • actionable knowledge


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