Innovation is an important factor in the competitiveness of enterprises. The question why some companies are more innovative than others, therefore received a lot of attention, both in science and in practice. Cooperation between organizations is seen as one of the variables that can increase product, process, organizational and market innovation of companies. It is assumed that companies can have access to capacity, resources and knowledge that they do not have, and they can share innovation risks by cooperating. This cooperation is not limited to suppliers and customers, but extends to, among other things, competitors, universities, research centres, industry associations and advisers. Cooperation can be a means to bring about innovation, especially for SMEs, that, due to their limited size, have less capacity, resources and knowledge and can therefore take on limited risks. In the search for successful cooperation, the entrepreneur faces a number of fundamental choices such as the selection of collaborative partners and the design, control, assurance and financing of the cooperation. This research focuses on conditions that enable entrepreneurs to make successful choices and to formulate an optimal cooperation strategy, with the aim of improving their capacity for innovation. Scientifically, the research is aimed at the keys of so-called 'relational rents', when applied to innovation capacity.
The research has four phases, consisting of two empirical investigations on the basis of European datasets, a survey among Dutch SMEs and a systematic literature review.