This paper sets about identifying different and complex innovation practices across nine countries by exploring data from firm level innovation surveys conducted in nine countries: Austria, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea and the United Kingdom. Our results suggest that innovating firms in these countries adopt one or more of the following innovation modes: 1) ‘new-to-market innovating’, 2) ‘marketing based imitating’, 3) ‘process modernising’, 4) ‘wider innovating’. The extent to which IPRs, external technology, design or marketing activities play a role in these innovation practices varies across countries. For example, in Austria, Denmark and New Zealand diffused technology (externally acquired R&D) is used together with own technology in bringing about novel products, suggesting a more open innovation pattern. In contrast, among firms in France, New Zealand and the UK we identify a greater reliance on IPRs (e.g. patents, copyrights and design registrations) while at the same time omitting externally acquired technologies. The latter may be interpreted as leaning towards a closed approach to innovation among a group of firms.