This paper explores the emergence of micro-level creative tensions and their interplay within collaborative innovation projects. Our findings demonstrate how, at the microlevel, an evolving set of actors, activities and artifacts support collaborative innovation in science-based SMEs. Our analysis highlights how activities and artifacts are linked through creative tensions emerging from situations of close interaction between diverse actors. We demonstrate how a mutually constitutive duality captures the paradoxical nature of creative tensions. Furthermore, our findings show how actors employ ambidexterity in navigating and harnessing creative tensions and develop artifacts that create value. We propose a framework that captures micro-level value creation in collaborative innovation. We suggest three research propositions that explore interconnectedness between actors from diverse backgrounds, diversity of knowledge and skills in contributing to innovation activities, and ambidexterity in navigating creative tensions in developing artifacts in the form of innovative products, services and processes.