Purpose: This paper seeks to explore how market orientation facilitates the strategic flexibility of business models grounded in open innovation. The authors suggest that the new paradigm of open innovation may impact a firm's adaptability and responsiveness under conditions of environmental flux. However, extending innovation capacity by opening the innovation process poses major challenges for firms. The aims of this study are to explore the characteristics of open innovation activity and to contemplate the role of strategic flexibility in the design of business models based upon open innovation. Design/methodology/approach: The study draws upon a qualitative research approach through a longitudinal case study in the field of open source software (OSS). The empirical case illustrates how an OSS firm utilizes signals in its environment to flexibly alter its business model. Findings: A business model that embodies open innovation raises dilemmas between open and closed innovation paradigms. However, the authors' case highlights that an ambidextrous approach that combines market orientation with the principles of open innovation increases profitability, shortens time to market through effective market access, and enhances innovation capability. Research limitations/implications: The results have profound implications for industrial marketers, managers, management consultants and business educators. They can use the insights gleaned from this research to guide the development of business models that involve open innovation. The results indicate that firms involved in open innovation need reactive strategic flexibility to cope with the environmental diversity and variability. However, this study analyzes a single case in the field of OSS and one should be cautious when generalizing the findings. Originality/value: This paper improves the understanding of the relationship between flexibility and market orientation. It combines two areas that have previously been discussed separately, i.e. market orientation and open innovation.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Business models, Management strategy, Market orientation, Open innovation, Open source, Strategic flexibility
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1108/03090561211248071
Journal European Journal of Marketing
Citation
Rajala, R. (Risto), Westerlund, M, & Möller, K. (Kristian). (2012). Strategic flexibility in open innovation - designing business models for open source software. European Journal of Marketing, 46(10), 1368–1388. doi:10.1108/03090561211248071