Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from emerging markets are the most vulnerable types of firms, especially in times of crisis due to time and resource constraints. Thus, this paper aims to help SMEs from emerging markets in choosing the right business partners with whom to cooperate to develop relevant innovations in crisis periods in general, and during the COVID-19 pandemic in particular. To obtain relevant insights, qualitative data from SMEs in Bosnia and Herzegovina were collected in March-April 2020. The findings show that SMEs have embraced new collaborations with business customers and competitors, and developed a collaborative mindset opposed to the traditionally competitive way of doing business in emerging markets. Based on the findings, this paper presents a set of recommendations for managers, and suggests several future research opportunities around the management of openness in the context of SMEs from emerging markets.