EuroCharity Yearbook 2012-13

Page 40

The greening of innovation Rethinking business value and innovation

Innovation, innovation, innovation is what we hear everywhere. Given that my passion for the past two decades has been to understand and enable innovation you should think that I am delighted. I am and I am not. We clearly need much innovation, but not just any: innovation and sustainability are Ă? have to be! Ă? inseparably linked. Innovation - but not as we know it. In order to achieve sustainability through innovation, we need to reconsider the following:

Dr. Bettina von Stamm FRSA, Director and Catalyst Innovation Leadership Forum (ILF)


The What Moving beyond innovation that centres around R&D, technology and patents we need to consider processes and particularly services and business models. Consider the example of a U.S. based chemical company, specialising in pesticides. Like in most other product-based companies, sales were incentivised to sell as much as possible. Increasing environmental awareness led to the question: what do our customers really want? By selling pest-free fields the pesticide became a cost to the company, creating a strong incentive to use as little as possible, creating winners all around. The Who Innovation needs everyone; movements such as "open innovation" and "crowd sourcing" reflect this, and companies such as P&G have had great success with soliciting 50% of ideas

for new products from the outside; GoldCorp found amazing precious metal reserves by making their geographical data - normally considered to be an organisation's crown jewels - available online. The Why There is no alternative: sustainability considerations have to be at the root of innovation. Companies such as Philips and Marks & Spencer come to mind, and do you know what Alcatel Lucent, Herman Miller and Samsung share in common? They were Sector Leaders and Gold Class holders in the 2012 Corporate Sustainability Assessment conducted by SAM and KPMG. Where do sustainability considerations come into play in your organisation? To prevent lawsuits or drive your innovation agenda? The future belongs to those who do the latter. The Where When casting your net for innovation opportunities, where do you seek for inspiration, experiment and developing new concepts and ideas? Two spots that may or may not be on your list: first, developing countries. Have you heard of the expression "innovation blow-back"? In January 2009, the online Times reported "Tata Nano - the world's cheapest new car is unveiled in India, selling for Rs 100,000 (the equivalent of GBP 1,300, which is the same price as the DVD player in a Lexus." Cataract surgery, costing around USD 5-10K in

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