By linking an open innovation perspective and a contingency view, this paper contributes to the open innovation literature in two ways. First, answering the recent call of scholars, we bring environmental context into open innovation research. In line with a ‘fit as moderation’ perspective we claim that some environmental contingencies might be favorable for searching broadly, but less favorable for searching deeply. To the best of our knowledge this is the first empirical study that explicitly focuses on specific contingencies in the external environment that shape firms’ ability to benefit from open innovation. Second, rather than treating search openness as a homogeneous construct, we explicitly focus on the differential effects of breadth and depth on firms’ innovation performance. As we will show, this approach delivers a more fine-grained understanding of how contingencies affect the value of external search breadth and depth and their differential impact on innovation performance.