The current economic crisis has highlighted the importance of the sustainability of innovation, be it environmental, social and economical. As consequence, it is common practice to consult the virtual community to find solutions, ideas and content, with the result that firms often have to face a growing number of competitors with equal access to non-proprietary knowledge. In this context, the Open Innovation business model is representing a competitive necessity to create cooperation with other external resources and innovation intermediary is rising “as an agent or broker on any aspect of innovation process between two or more parties”. With the aim of describing this phenomenon, this paper proceeds as follows. Firstly, we present a conceptual framework to analyze innovation intermediaries and their role in the evolution of the global sustainable competition then we focus our attention on their functions, and on their role in each area of sustainability. Evidences from the field opportunities for future examinations are presented.
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