Breaking Waves : New Energy’s Open Innovation Strategy for Shaping the Maritime Industry : An Exploratory Case Study
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- Master Thesis 
This thesis explores how an established firm can leverage an organizational setup for open innovation, in order to become more sustainable. The phenomenon is investigated through an exploratory case study, examining New Energy, a company owned by the established Wilhelmsen group. Through semi-structured interviews and observation, the findings are related to the literature on open innovation, corporate venture capital, and innovation at the edge. The study’s findings are twofold. Firstly, the study identifies how New Energy’s setup and dynamics align with the open innovation approach. New Energy was established as an open innovation initiative, leveraging its network by opening its company borders and accessing resources from internal and external actors. By effectively balancing an external and internal focus, New Energy creates a unique opportunity to access diverse resources, fostering industrial synergies and collaborations that contribute to Wilhelmsen’s sustainability agenda. The study also suggests that New Energy’s dual focus reduces resistance within Wilhelmsen and is beneficial when establishing relationships with external partners. Secondly, the findings demonstrate how New Energy encompasses elements from literature on both corporate venture capital and innovation at the edge, with a stronger alignment with the edge approach. In line with the edge literature, New Energy has an external focus and pursues innovative projects alongside Wilhelmsen’s traditional operations. In addition, New Energy experiences capital restrictions, incentivizing the company to utilize its network. However, the findings also reveal some unique features not extensively covered in existing literature. These distinctive features are primarily linked to the New Energy team, as New Energy focuses on having passionate people with a wide range of competencies. This has led to close team dynamics and enables New Energy to access valuable resources in the network. Additionally, the Executive Vice President’s characteristics and position in the group management team contribute to a close relationship with Wilhelmsen. These features are important in New Energy’s efforts to shape the maritime industry. Overall, the findings provide valuable insights into the innovative characteristics of New Energy, contributing to a more comprehensive understanding of how established firms can respond to a changing business environment.