The 2000s saw the development of two important concepts in innovation management literature: open innovation and sustainable innovation. Paraphrasing Chesbrough, open innovation (hereafter, OI) is “a paradigm that assumes that firms can and should use external ideas as well as internal ideas, and internal and external paths to markets, as the firms look to advance their technology”. Similarly, according to the definition by Charter, Gray, Clark, and Woolman and Charter and Clark, sustainable innovation (hereafter, SI) is “a process where sustainability considerations (environmental, social, and financial) are integrated into company systems from idea generation through to research and development (R&D) and commercialization. This applies to products, services and technologies, as well as to new business and organizational models”.

Despite the recognized importance of both these concepts, practitioners and academicians yet question whether existing paths of businesses are sufficient. In particular, relatively little is known about OI in the context of SI, even if OI is recognized as increasingly relevant for SI. Based on these premises, this chapter attempts to remedy the situation by discussing the existing literature in the field of OI for SI, with the twofold objective to (ii) show what has been done so far in this area, and (ii) identify the main drivers, barriers and actors involved in an SI process under an OI lens. Specifically, the present chapter highlights in which areas of SI can the concept of OI be applied, by addressing the following two questions: (1) Why companies adopt SI? and (2) Which stakeholders should be involved in SI?