Innovative research and development, supported by creative, enthusiastic and collaborative researchers, is vital to advancement of the offshore renewable energy (ORE) sector. The innovation system concept stresses that the flow of technology and information between people, enterprises and institutions is key to innovation. R&D, engineering and project development in the ORE sector are extremely multidisciplinary and rely on a wide breadth of skill sets and knowledge. No individual actor has the expertise to manage it all alone. Similarly, no individual country has the financial, market or knowledge resources to completely support the ORE industry. Collaboration, knowledge sharing and open innovation, particularly on an international level, are critical to the development, diffusion and implementation of a successful ORE sector. In the ORE business community, traditional reluctance toward information sharing due to intellectual property concerns is giving way as the benefits of cooperation become increasingly apparent. Some of the areas where collaboration can be particularly beneficial, not just to the industry as a whole but also to the individual actors engaged in the process, are: mutual benefits from best-practices sharing, lowering cost barriers for small and medium enterprises, and catalysing innovation through collaboration. Furthermore, in the academic research community, the limitations of only sharing information through written articles alone are being acknowledged. The nascent state of the ORE sector opens a range of opportunities for beneficial collaborations; a number of already-successful programs are described in this paper. The International Network on Offshore Renewable Energy (INORE) serves as a hub for international and multidisciplinary collaboration between researchers at early stages of their careers. INORE facilitates collaboration through a variety of activities, events, and programs as well as via its online presence. By instilling a positive attitude towards and experience with collaboration in the next generation of ORE professionals, INORE is advancing innovative research and is building a foundation for successful innovation in the ORE sector for years to come.