I recently had an opportunity to meet with a group of sustainability leaders who wanted to effectively combine Sustainability and Innovation. That’s actually a very powerful way to drive your strategy & develop an innovation capability at the same time. As we talked about driving horizon 3 innovations (big, bold, transformational concepts), we outlined some concrete steps to get started.
First, map & understand your ecosystem.
Where is value being created? Identify the trends, the start-ups and the leaders in your space. For example, is a lot of new value coming into your market through start-ups who leverage the Internet of Things trend? By mapping out what is happening, you have an opportunity to then identify the concrete actions to take.
It’s just as important to understand where value is being destroyed. Where is money leaving your market? What did customers once value & are now abandoning? For example, in retail, brick & mortar are less desirable while on-line shopping is more desirable. Again, if you understand where value is moving away from, you can better understand the impact to your own organization.
For the sustainability leaders, consumer trends and expectations show that it’s important to build sustainability into products in order to achieve a fundamentally different or better product. To achieve that outcome, sustainability leaders can leverage innovation tools and techniques.
- Engage employees using on-line platforms and methods
- Work with small groups of expert problem solvers to innovate around really difficult problems associated with building in sustainability.
- Innovate with senior leaders around new opportunity spaces to explore and exploit based on trends and what’s happening within the ecosystem.
By combining your strategy with innovation techniques and methods, you have the powerful means to explore and learn what’s next. We believe that’s where the next competitive advantages lie & those who are willing to explore those new spaces will be the rising business leaders. If you’re running a strategic program, such as sustainability, it’s critical to interject innovation into the fiber of your program for long-term success.