If we can carry in our pockets more computing power than the Apollo program needed to put a man on the moon, why can't we solve problems like climate change, famine, or poverty? The answer lies, in part, in the distinctive challenges of creating innovations that address today's pressing environmental and social problems. In this groundbreaking book, Andrew Hargadon shows why sustainable innovation—the development of financially viable products that support a healthy environment and communities—is so difficult when compared to creating the next internet ventures or mobile apps that disregard these criteria.
While other books treat innovation across sectors equally, Hargadon argues that most effective innovation strategies hinge on attention to the context in which they are pursued. Instead of relying on a stale set of "best practices," executives must craft their own strategies based on the particulars of their industries and markets. But, there are some rules of the road that foster a triple bottom line; this book provides a research-based framework that outlines the critical capabilities necessary to drive sustainable innovation: a long-term commitment, nexus work, science and policy expertise, recombinant innovation, and robust design. Sustainable Innovation draws on a wide range of historical and contemporary examples to show business readers and their companies how to stand on the shoulders of successful pioneers.
About the author
Andrew Hargadon is the Charles J. Soderquist Chair in Entrepreneurship at the University of California, Davis. He is the author of How Breakthroughs Happen.
"Sustainability offers vast opportunities for business innovation: systems thinking, radical efficiency and more. Andrew Hargadon shows how companies can harness innovation to align sustainability and business objectives. Most of all, he shows that the potential for game-changing innovation is already found inside most organizations—and, by extension, in all of us."
—Joel Makower, Chairman and Executive Editor, GreenBiz Group, Inc., and author of Strategies for the Green Economy
"If leading or starting a company is anywhere in your future, Sustainable Innovation is a must read. This is not another boring prescription on how to apply one-of-kind innovation models to your business. Andrew Hargadon's research and insights teaches us to think anew—showing us how to navigate planet, profit and purpose. An innovator's delight!"
—William Rosenzweig, UC Berkeley Haas School of Business and Founder, The Republic of Tea
"Sustainable Innovation explains precisely two of the most important—and most interconnected—principles that all sustainability executives should heed: learn to learn from others, and learn to ask the right questions."
—Rick Ridgeway, VP Environmental Affairs, Patagonia
"Sustainable Innovation makes a compelling case that tackling the world's biggest challenges will require a form of innovation that's very different from what's come before. Hargadon skillfully draws lessons from historical examples while adding an important new framework that describes how to transform innovation to address our unique, modern megachallenges."
—Andrew Winston, author of The Big Pivot and co-author of Green to Gold