The virtual enterprise is usually cited as an innovative inter-organizational configuration. Is it possible to justify and to assert the innovativeness of virtual enterprises just by claiming that they are made up of innovative “elements”? Is a sum of innovative features making the resulting system innovative too? This contribution will investigate the conditions and the situations in which a virtual enterprise can be regarded as innovative from an organizational point of view. In addition, a comparison with other inter-firm cooperation configurations (e.g. extended enterprise, digital districts, inter-organizational projects) will point out the most innovative features characterizing the virtual enterprise.