What is Sustainable Innovation?

Sustainable innovation is very important as it contributes to the growth, competitiveness and survival of a company. Sustainable innovation aims to provide products and services that are best for companies in the long run, not only for themselves, but also for society and the environment. In this respect, it differs from traditional innovation. In our article “What is Sustainable Innovation? What is the Difference with Traditional Innovation?” We will answer your questions.

Definition of Sustainable Innovation

In sustainable innovation, companies do not focus solely on creating new products, services or changing business processes to generate profits. It also wants the innovations they have made or will do to create social and environmental benefits in the long run. In simpler terms, sustainable innovation seeks to create environmental benefits while making a profit with its innovations.

Let’s take a look at how a company that has adopted sustainable innovation performs its innovation processes:

  • These companies pay attention to sustainability when inventing or developing new products and services.
  • Sustainable innovation does not occur only through changes made in products and services. At the same time, operational processes can be changed in many departments such as design, production, marketing and human resources, thereby contributing to sustainable innovation.

If we give an example of a company that implements sustainable innovation; We can talk about the Bio-bean company operating in the UK. Bio-bean recycles waste coffee grounds to create environmentally friendly biofuels. Thus, it not only makes profit in the long run but also contributes to the environment.

What is the Difference Between Sustainable Innovation and Traditional Innovation?

Both types of innovation involve creating new products – services or improving existing products – services. However, 3 main features distinguish sustainable innovation from traditional innovation.

1. Both today and the Future Matter

Issues such as human rights and climate change are actively involved in sustainable innovation processes. Companies that implement this type of innovation do not ignore future generations while meeting the needs of current generations. It aims to innovate by considering the needs of both generations.

2. Requires Systems-Oriented Thinking

Companies do not focus solely on their own organizations when implementing sustainable innovation. At the same time, they are aware that other companies, nature and communities are part of this system and they carry out their activities accordingly.

3. Embedded in Company Culture

In traditional innovation, a separate R&D department is usually created to run the company’s innovation processes. However, companies that adopt sustainable innovation deeply embed it in the company culture and make it a part of the company culture.

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