Research has identified an urgent need to renew agriculture's traditional design organization and foster more open, decentralized, contextualized and participatory approaches to design and innovation. While the concepts of co-design and co-innovation used in agriculture resemble features of open innovation, they may benefit from ‘inbound open innovation’ themselves through cross-fertilization with management studies, design science, science and technology studies, and organization studies. This special issue brings together different streams of research providing novel perspectives on co-design and co-innovation in agriculture, including methods, tools and organizations. It compares empirical experiences and theoretical advances to address a variety of issues (e.g., innovation ecosystems, collective design management, participatory design methods, affordances of system analysis tools and network leadership) that shed new light on co-design and co-innovation in support of sustainable agriculture and more broadly transitions towards a diversity of food systems and a circular bioeconomy. This introductory paper presents crosscutting insights and distills from these three directions for future research and practice in agricultural design and innovation: 1) Further opening design and innovation techniques and tools to better account for visual, auditory, tactile and olfactory expressions in evolving designs and what they afford users; 2) Further opening innovation networks in view of creating and stimulating integrative niches that can foster sustainability transitions, which also requires network managers instilling a reflexive stance of network members and broader awareness of power structures attached to organizational, sector and paradigmatic silos in agricultural systems; and 3) Further opening the range of innovation actors to include non-human actants to better account for the agency of the material and ecological.