Insurance providers aren't particularly well known for their fast-paced innovation. In truth however, the insurance industry is on the cutting edge of corporate environmental awareness and has been for some time. Insurance providers also manage their innovations: They introduce new ideas but don't adopt them at a faster pace than they can support.
The paperless society has been touted for decades, but paper’s use has been growing for millennia. With the growing capabilities, convenience and mobility, of new technologies reaching maturity, are we finally seeing a tipping point toward a society of less paper?
With global warming implicated in current droughts, storms, impending extinctions, sea level rise, and other harbingers of climate change, some experts are looking past the debate for placing the blame on humanity and questioning whether technological solutions could improve or injure humanity and the ecosystem which protects us. With geoengineering, the manipulation of the planet’s environment on a large scale, scientists are trying to innovate on nature for the sake of human survival, but could these technologies actually do more harm than good?
Cookers, bikes, beds, tents, a school club, computers, vacuum cleaners, coat hangers - they are part of a growing range of new applications for cardboard, old and new. A combination of trends is enabling this growth: consumer expectations to reduce and reuse packaging continue to rise; new processes are enabling more effective cleaning of paper for re-use; emerging nations are focusing on frugal innovation and new products to support growing aspirations and local markets.
Food packaging has often focused on two primary consumer aspects; convenience and preserving the quality of the food. Consumer’s environmental and health concerns and corporation’s supply chain and energy cost goals are driving innovation in food packaging; creating a growing demand for changes.
Cities have long attempted to bring the rural into the urban, whether the Hanging Gardens of Babylon or Singapore’s new Gardens by the Bay, but urban agriculture is increasing with green roofs and other forms of urban farming as the population of cities continues to expand. Based largely on the theories of Dickson Despommier, architects have been designing the ultimate in city-based agribusiness, vertical farms inside of high rise buildings which some have dubbed plantscrapers.
Photosynthesis is ubiquitous, but not easy – for humans. Although plants do it, humans find it more of a challenge: but we are making progress on a number of fronts. The potential long term is almost limitless supplies of low carbon energy; clean fuels for cars, planes and ships; and fundamental change to the nature of the global economy.
Sustainability may still not be on the top of everyone's priority list, but those who do take green action get results, and big ones. Chris Sherwin, Head of Sustainability at Seymourpowell, shares his reaction to this year's Fast Company 50, where a few pleasantly surprising sustainability innovators could be found among the trend setters.
Population pressure and environmental concerns are pushing cities around the world to embrace the concept of green roofs. As climate change distorts natural systems, the environmental, economic and aesthetic benefits of green roofs are set to create a new norm in city management.
Congestion is a growing problem in towns, cities and on motorways the world over as the number of cars continues to increase. Two, currently separate but potentially converging developments, namely seriously smart driverless cars and shared ownership schemes, could reduce car ownership and congestion, while still ensuring – even extending –mobility and independence.
Resource prices are rising which should be good for waste reclamation and recycling: it increases economic viability, encourages new processes and behaviours. And provides new opportunities. Even the humble toilet may get a makeover into a power source. The War on Waste is hotting up.
Innovation management is a formative discipline and innovation managers have had their hands full with ideas management, design thinking, service innovation and many more new ideas. But sustainable innovation should be a key tool in any innovation manager's skill-set, argues Chris Sherwin, sustainability expert at Forum for the Future.
In this article, Professor Archana Patankar takes an overview of innovations for environment in India, with specific focus on innovative ideas, technologies and programmes in the water and energy sector. It also brings forth the fact that environmental/green innovations are absolutely necessary to move towards the sustainable development pathways.
Sofia Börjesson is Director of the Center for Business Innovation (CBI) at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg. She is Associate Professor in Technology Management and has extensive experience in leading university-company research projects. Professor Börjesson’s university office is frequently unoccupied – she spends a great deal of time visiting companies and organizations in order to see at first hand and to understand how they are working with innovation. She brings with her the latest academic trends based on the work of her group at CBI and their research in the field, in order to help firms to become more innovative and more efficient. InnovationManagement.se asked her a few questions.