Sustainability-oriented innovation

Innovation is a vital process for long term business success, whereby new ideas are generated and successfully implemented. To generate new ideas that can be useful, these ideas will probably arise from thinking differently than we normally think. To implement these new ideas companies must dare to act differently than they normally do. In fact we mean that we are looking for new ideas that are different today but normal in the future so there is clear business case. Perhaps in this context it is better to define innovation as finding and implementing the normal way to do business in the future.

It raises the question: what is the normal way for you to do business in the future?

Looking at companies who are thinking about the future, their mission statement reveals how they view the future and how to add business value. These values are not about economic returns only, but are also about social and environmental value. In fact they are about people, planet and profit, which is how sustainable development was defined by the Brundtland Commission of the United Nations in 1987. In this respect companies are sustainability-oriented.

If we are looking for new business ideas there is inspiration in sustainability-oriented innovation.

Norbert Bol


Adams, R., Jeanrenaud, S., Bessant, J., Denyer, D., & Overy, P. (2015). Sustainability‐oriented Innovation: A Systematic ReviewInternational Journal of Management Reviews.

Edgeman, R., Neely, A., & Eskildsen, J. (2015). Continuously relevant and responsible organizations via creativity, innovation and sustainability.International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management64(3).

Photo credit: Seth1492 Foter CC BY

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