Taking Sustainable Innovation to the Next Level

image: next levelIn previous posts, such as, How to Maintain a Steady Stream of Sustainable Business Innovation, our sustainability consulting practice has explored the topic of sustainable innovation from an identification and capture perspective. We believe that facilitating the idea generation process to be a catalyst to business sustainability.  However, the question still remains: How do we translate creative thinking into practical applications?

To answer this question, our sustainability consulting returns to Innovation on Purpose for its insight. The post, Bridging the gap between ideas and products, explores creative processes in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace.  Focusing our own interest on the application of new ideas, we find valueable insight from this article’s unique perspective.

“Firms that have spent the last two decades right-sizing, outsourcing, cutting costs, getting "lean", implementing Six Sigma and a host of other management tools are rapidly realizing that you simply can't cut your way to growth and differentiation…Right now, as the first "green shoots" of economic growth are becoming visible, is the time to develop the skills and capabilities to improve innovation processes and disciplines within your firm and build innovation networks to spot and adopt great ideas that exist outside your firm.”

As the post goes on to describe, the common stumbling blocks in business application are seldom related to the ideas themselves.  The missteps often lie in a failure to pave the way for the truly brilliant concepts.  Instead of allowing innovation to carry itself, the post suggests project leads:
  • Link new ideas to important corporate goals that innovation should support.
  • Prescreen ideas that have the best chance to become disruptive products and services.
  • Focus on the select few that can navigate through the decision points and approvals to become a new product or service.

Understandably, this not an easy process.  For this very reason, our business sustainability research and applied practices focus on mastering the capture process.  We work extensively on expanding eco awareness and facilitating innovative thinking through key business stakeholders, as a valued source for new ideas.  Taking this first step can be a competitive differentiator; however, the companies that can translate innovative ideas into practical applications truly set themselves apart.

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