Sustainable innovation

Sustainable innovation
Primary topic
Related topics
Methods and techniques

Sustainable innovation is defined as development of a new product or process that take fewer environmental resources, promote the health and are financially possible for producers and consumers. From organizational point of view, sustainable innovation is an ability to create organizations capable of innovating time and and again at the pace they can sustain. (Hargadon 2015, p. 11). Sustainable innovation integrates environmentalism’s protection of natural systems with the notion of business innovation driven by various factors.

Elements of sustainability[edit]

The science of sustainability and its effects shifted consumer behaviors and preferences recent years. Understanding and awareness of climate change, agriculture, nutrition, water use, ability to track greenhouse gas emission, air quality, energy efficiency and more contributed to creating sustainable culture in business. In parallel with developments on measuring natural environments impacts, new technologies evolved. Big companies have included in their operations renewable sources like solar panels, wind energy. The Internet created many opportunities for example radical transparency of companies. Local, state governments and the developed world are currently enacting bold programs to promote solar financing, low-carbon fuels and renewable energy sources.

Sustainable innovation strategies[edit]

In organisations, innovation emerges in a context of increasingly network-like and organizational changes. There is a tendency for generating innovations for effective implementation of new products or processes and adding value and beliefs so as they will be beneficial to the company and its shareholders. Previously, innovation strategies focused on gaining profits for the firms.

To create sustainable responsibility in the company, some strategies can be implemented:

  1. Putting sustainability in the company's strategies and DNA
  2. Linking sustainability and innovation
  3. Developing inspiring sustainable policies
  4. Hiring external sustainability consultants
  5. Training employees in sustainable innovation concepts
  6. Creating sustainable culture and work space for the company
  7. Value sustainable vision, reputation and brand equity

Challenges to sustainable innovation[edit]

According to Hargadon (2015) we can set following challenges:

  • Declining resources - dramatic expansion on production and consumption.
  • Brownfield vs. Greenfield markets - difficulties in modernization existing factories comparing to new ones with simple structure.
  • Faster, better, cheaper - struggle to bring new products and services to the market, because of politicians and incumbents.
  • Risk and uncertainty - new undertaking innovation is risky for the nature. We can distinguish several uncertainties:
    • Market uncertainty
    • Business uncertainty
    • Environmental uncertainty
    • Technology uncertainty
    • Policy uncertainty
  • The Breakthrough Bias - discussion about misconceptions where innovations came from and how firms identify and invest in them.


References[edit]


Author: Nina