Tips for Implementing Sustainable Innovation Strategies


image: innovation managment“Innovation is an essential component of organizational success, and may require shifts in mindset and culture. Encourage fast failure and experimentation. Create space for innovators to escape the daily grind.”  -Corporate Executive Board

Following this guidance, our sustainability consulting is reminded of a recent Taiga Company post, Sustainable Innovation: Are We Our Own Worst Enemy, which discusses the challenges faced in the implementation of sustainable innovation strategies and/or complete corporate culture reforms.  Leveraging guidance from HBR, the post describes how companies can overcome their own self sabotaging tendencies through conscious eco awareness of specific innovation markers. 

  • Innovation is episodic: A few people in the organization have a burning desire to foster more innovation, or a different kind of innovation, so they invent a new process.  Remember that innovation, like any other important organizational process, can be managed. Don't reinvent the wheel. 
  • Resources are held hostage by incumbent businesses: If you want to understand the most significant lever for generating change in a large, complex organization, you need to understand the resource allocation process. 
  • You're trying to fit innovation into the structure that you have: The main lesson here is that an innovation probably won't be well served by the organizational structure that supports the existing business.  
  • Too little diversity of thought; too much isolation from customers' experience: It's worth considering whether your organizational systems allow different perspectives and voices to be heard. 
  • Treating assumptions like knowledge: Because budget and planning processes place a premium on being "right," there is often no incentive for an innovation team to admit to having made a guess that doesn't pan out 

Through direct engagement with companies and business leaders seeking to inspire and motivate sustainable action in their organization, we find business stakeholders to be a valuable 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 and social media strategies become a natural fit with applied innovation.

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