By: Rob Hoehn
The inevitable changes ahead for our industries and for our way of life are just as profound as they were in previous shifts in eras. The Climate Action Sweepstakes is committed to supporting efforts that help companies step into the early days of the Regenerative Era with clarity, courage and maximum positive impact by leveraging the power of their employee network.
We are living in an era of unprecedented disruption and discovery, of massive discontinuity and extraordinary possibility. Leaders are being tested like never before: digitalization, innovation from entirely new players, shifting regulations, disrupted supply chains, political uncertainty, changing customer expectations – today’s challenges are immense. And now we find ourselves on the cusp of an entirely new economic era: an economy that will be shaped by the accelerating climate crisis.
The Regenerative Economy is beginning to emerge as companies, startups, investors, universities, governments, communities, and innovators are joining together to imagine and create the solutions we need. From the World Economic Forum to companies like Google, Microsoft, Walmart, and SAP, an increasing number of enterprises and their leaders are making commitments for climate solutions that will radically alter their operations and those of their stakeholders. We are witnessing the beginnings of far-reaching systemic change.
Perhaps you know all of this, but maybe what you don’t know is how innovation and sustainability are intrinsically linked. Some studies have even suggested that for companies that excel at sustainability, they might exceed expectations when it comes to innovation.
In fact, this article from Deloitte reports that “sustainability leaders are more than 400% more likely to be considered innovation leaders.”
There are a few reasons that innovation and sustainability are linked, however:
Constraints Breed Creativity
Sometimes using compliance and regulation helps us to look at a problem from a new angle. There’s even some evidence that having guardrails on problem statements will lead to more creative solutions, but sustainability is unique in that it has some clear parameters that can spur creative thinking that helps to address renewable challenges and much, much more.
Sustainability Touches Almost Every Part of a Business
When everyone in an organization is encouraged to address a particular challenge, that thinking can be addressed to other problems, as well. This means that disparate groups can draw unlikely connections between both problems and solutions.
The Concept of the Value Chain Gets Longer
Instead of everyone staying in their lane, they can expand their thinking to include other parts of the value to chain to how certain products, processes, and business models apply to sustainability. This usually leads to awareness of other problems and possibilities.
Building Beyond Spec Requirements
Most problem statements will ask you to think of the particular problem solved, but sustainability asks designers to start anticipating challenges to other aspects of the product experience. This holistic lens creates empathic designers and solution seekers.
The “Next” Factor
Companies have only recent begun to think of their value beyond the bottom line as a differentiator or strength. Expanding an organization’s sense of valuation leads to more opportunities for differentiation, value creation, and audience capture.
I guarantee that your network of creators, authors, and employees wants to help you find solutions that serve you in the sustainable future, that’s why we created the Climate Action Sweepstakes which is entire consultative program that will deliver more than 100 new ideas for your sustainability portfolio.
About the Author
Rob Hoehn is the co-founder and CEO of IdeaScale: the largest open innovation software platform in the world. Hoehn launched crowdsourcing software as part of the open government initiative and IdeaScale’s robust portfolio now includes many other industry notables, such as EA Sports, NBC, NASA, Xerox and many others. Prior to IdeaScale, Hoehn was Vice President of Client Services at Survey Analytics.