Sustainability oriented innovations (SOI) are realized ideas that improve environmental and/or social performance while simultaneously considering commercial viability. SOI concerns the efficient use of resource inputs, the creation of improved products and services, and the formation of new business models: all of which are aligned to traditional business principles.
SOI is often described as a cornerstone of proactive sustainability strategies, with many companies embracing incremental innovations in the form of ‘end-of-pipe’ technical additions or ‘eco-efficient’ optimization of current organizational processes. Yet, far fewer companies engage in developing innovations that radically improve sustainability performance due to challenges such as high complexity, uncertainty and insufficient financial returns making them less attractive for investment.
Companies require insight into the mechanisms that may enhance their radical innovation activities and an explicit examination of how these practices connect to both corporate strategy and socio-ecological system needs. Our research seeks to unpack this ‘black-box’ and give clarity to the actual process of radical SOI (e.g. the series of practices through which the innovation is enacted).
- Kennedy, S. and Bocken, N. (2019). Innovating business models for sustainability: an essential practice for responsible managers. In: Laasch, O., Jamali, D., Freeman, E., & Suddaby, R. (2019, forthcoming). The Research Handbook of Responsible Management. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
- How to Be Radical: Three Ways to Accelerate Sustainability. Available at: https://www.nbs.net/articles/how-to-be-radical-three-ways-to-accelerate-sustainability
- Kennedy, S., Whiteman, G. & van den Ende, J (2016) Radical Innovation for Sustainability: The Power of Strategy and Open Innovation. Long Range Planning. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lrp.2016.05.004
- Kennedy, S., Whiteman, G. & Williams, A. (2015) Sustainable Innovation at Interface: Workplace Pro-Environmental Behavior as a Collective Driver for Continuous Improvement. In: Barling, J. and Robertson, J. (eds) The Psychology of Green Organizations. Oxford University Press.