As challenges such as demographic pressures, ethnic tensions, terrorism, global poverty, pandemics and abrupt climate change force their way into mainstream politics and business, so we see growing interest in innovation, entrepreneurial solutions and, critically, issues such as how to ensure successful solutions replicate and scale. Sustainable Innovation aims to illustrate that shift. Instead of simply focusing on environmental and technological matters, it views and evaluates innovation-for-sustainability in terms of the human, social and management challenges and responses.
It argues that a just, efficient and sustainable balancing of these elements is best achieved by the development of new knowledge, and by the evolution of better means both of embedding that emerging knowledge in organisations and institutions, and of managing the relevant flows of information, knowledge and wisdom. The book stresses that claims that a particular product, production process or service are sustainable usually assume that an appropriate balance has been achieved between people, planet and profit. However, calculating the sustainability of such things, let alone of complex systems such as enterprises or economies, can be impossible. Instead of `sustainability', the book favours the use of terms such as `making sustainable', emphasising that in dynamic operating environments organisational processes are changing constantly, whether or not they are under effective strategic control by management. Innovation, too, is dynamic by definition. Sustainable Innovation argues that there must be a constant focus on the triple bottom line of economic, social and environmental value creation during the innovation process.
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