Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Innovate or Die: The Next Big Trend in Sustainability

Innovative approaches to sustainability are rapidly becoming the next frontier of corporate differentiation. Being more innovative is not only essential to improve the bottom line, it is also a pathway to growth.

The combination of rapid technological change and slow economic growth are driving innovation. At the macroeconomic level innovation is essential to profitability and economic growth, at the level of the individual organization, innovation is increasingly a key success factor.

Innovation is an imperative for companies looking to do more with less. It is becoming increasingly clear that we can reduce emissions and tackle climate change. However, innovation is absolutely necessary if we are to expedite emissions reductions. Reducing carbon emissions makes good business sense and innovations that respond to the market demands of the low carbon economy are destined to prosper.

There is a large and growing pool of data that supports the contention that with the help of innovative new technologies sustainability affords good business opportunities. This view was corroborated by an October 2014 analysis from the World Resources Institute (WRI). According to the WRI report titled Seeing Is Believing: Creating a New Climate Economy in the United States, emerging technologies could help the US achieve deeper reductions even faster with targeted policy support.

According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) report titled Breakthrough Innovation and Growth, executives are looking to innovation to drive growth. The report surveyed 1757 corporate executives in 25 countries and found that 93 percent of executives are looking to innovation to drive growth.

One of the most interesting findings is that while organizations want innovation they do not know how to get it. A total of 81 percent of respondents indicated that they do not believe their organizations know how to lead innovation.

Companies are not living as long as they used to and innovation is one of the primary ways they can lengthen their life span.

To succeed in today's marketplace companies need to engage innovation in a methodical fashion. This entails developing well thought out and fully integrated plans for innovation. This goes far beyond generating a good idea and extends into detailed strategies for implementation.

The corporate world is adopting sustainability as a strategic imperative that is being dictated by the market. However, it is no longer enough that businesses simply engage sustainability, they are now faced with increasingly powerful pressures that are driving them to innovate as a matter of survival.

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Innovation in the Low Carbon Energy Economy
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Video: Innovation is the Solution to Climate Change
Video: Sustainability and Innovation

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