Open Innovation Meets Iranian SMEs: Should We Praise Economic Sanctions?

Numerous governments and multinational entities impose sanctions against Iran. Following the Iranian Revolution of 1979, economic sanctions came into force, and were expanded in 1995 to include firms dealing with the Iranian government. Economic sanctions encompass both banking and insurance transactions (including those with the Central Bank of Iran), shipping, web-hosting services for commercial endeavors, and domain name registration services. This situation has created a new image of a nationally innovated system in Iran. Firms and enterprises have faced difficulties maintaining their previous trade strategies. Under this economic pressure, firms have started to struggle for survival in the market. This is especially true for those that were dependent on relationships with international partners. One of the approaches to overcome this issue was to focus on universities. Universities were the only entities with sufficient scientific capabilities and expertise to meet the industry’s need. As a result, firms in this contextual capacity started applying different open innovation strategies that included outsourcing and collaboration. In addition Iran’s scientific growth increased drastically during the last decade although an opposite trend influenced patenting activities in Iran. The country, therefore, represents a very interesting research area for innovation studies (Bagheri et al, 2015). To respond to the industry’s needs for technology and science, the government encouraged collaborative strategies. Consequently, an open innovation ecosystem was formed in a closed structure. Many universities established science and technology parks in collaboration with these industries. The transfer of technological activities was accelerated with the help of the government. As of 2012, Iran had 31 science and technology parks nationwide, and by 2014, Iran had
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