In the corporate world, our sustainability consulting practice has found that most business leaders would agree, that achieving real bottom line improvements, whether through cost savings or improved revenues, is critical to business sustainability. However, we further contend that these bottom line achievements are the result of close collaboration with key stakeholders committed to the business’s success. To focus the corporate ear, business sustainability minded organizations are engaging with stakeholders, who have a vested interest in the success of the business, as source of innovation.
Exploring this concept further in a recent Environmental Leader post, Be the Next Nissan: How to Find Sustainability Breakthroughs, the author examines the actions of leading companies in their efforts to take business sustainability to the next level. Leveraging research from Forum for the Future’s Sustainable Business Models group, the article explains how companies can do three things to bring innovations to market:
- Have a balanced portfolio of innovation
- Embed breakthrough innovation in company culture
- Set up management structures that spot and nurture breakthroughs
Innovative ideas do not have to come from one single source. They can generate from within the company at the ground level, from the customers, or your suppliers. Referring back to The Forum’s research, companies should put breakthrough innovation into their culture at all levels, which includes:
- HR hiring, training, rewarding and promoting innovation behaviors.
- Budgeting resources for breakthrough innovation.
- Senior management leading through their actions, and taking risks that could compromise short-term profitability.
Through our engagement with companies and business leaders seeking to inspire and motivate sustainable action in their organization, we find business stakeholders as a valued source for new ideas. Our professional consulting works with clients to step outside of the confines of the business to leverage employee, supplier, and end consumer thinking. In doing so, sustainability concepts naturally find their way into the new developments within the company. We invite you to visit with or follow us to learn how your company can leverage social media engagement to tap into the reverse innovation occurring around the globe.