IdeaScale cares a great deal about helping people build sustainable business practices. Certainly we believe in sustainable businesses, because they work to minimize any negative impact on their environment when it comes to community, society, the economy, or planet. However, there is another reason that IdeaScale invests in organizations that build sustainable practices… In short, it is because they are more likely to be successful at innovation. But how can we say that sustainability and innovation are related?
In a few different studies by the Harvard Business Review and by Deloitte, researchers found that organizations that were leaders in sustainability were also leaders in innovation (and specifically with sustainability leading the way for innovation). But why would this be so?
Well, the researchers pose a few different theories:
Constraints actually build creativity. As much as some organizations complain about limitations and regulations, there’s evidence to support the idea that working within some boundaries actually makes us MORE creative. So if an organization has to meet some sustainability directives, they’re more likely to be inspired by their limitations instead of bound by them.
The premium placed on new ideas. Because sustainability practices rely on fresh ideas to continuously optimize and find efficiencies, generating ideas becomes second nature to all employees. They are far more likely to think up solutions to other problems (foreseen and unforeseen), as well.
Employees begin to see the whole value chain. When looking for efficiencies, you end up thinking beyond your small domain and into the rest of the company, its partners, and procedures. This expansion allows for ideation that is more comprehensive and valuable.
To learn more about the relationship between sustainability and innovation, download our infographic here.