This paper investigates the role of design as a knowledge translation mechanism for social creativity in technology-intensive enterprises’ open innovation practices of. The focus is on how design can be used to connect and combine the contribution of creativity resulting from multiple stakeholders, including entrepreneurs, university students and academics in a process in which knowledge is openly shared and transferred across the boundaries of companies’ R&D Laboratories, a university and other institutions. Adopting the research approach of grounded theory, the empirical investigation of an initiative in technology-intensive enterprises, developed from 2009 to 2016 by the Italian Conference of the University Colleges and the Italian Association of Young Entrepreneurs, is presented. The aim is to provide evidence that design artefacts represent important managerial means to support the translation of stakeholders’ creativity and knowledge into new formats to nurture open innovation. This provides relevant implications for theory building and practice.