It’s undeniable that technology-led innovation is disrupting the business landscape. But these same innovations often drive smarter, more sustainable, consumption behaviours. Consider, for example:
- smartphone and web applications lowering the transaction costs of co-ordination and engagement in the sharing economy
- sensors and information portals that track resource usage (like electricity), identifying waste and driving efficiency and savings both at home and in the commercial sector
- apps, like product ratings/information tools, that shape buying and other personal behaviours
- battery technology or distributed/micro-grid energy production creating a more resilient energy grid and enabling cost savings
Examples such as these demonstrate the innovation potential of combining technology and sustainable outcomes. In some cases, environmental benefits accrue as a side-effect of delivering compelling—dare we say “disruptive”—products and services that have stand-alone benefit in the market.
Such offerings also tap into growing consumer sentiment around corporate responsibility and engagement, further increasing market appeal and contributing to business success.
But innovating presents its own set of challenges…
Taking full advantage of such opportunities demands a rethinking of how we do things, with new business models prompting different ways of engaging with key stakeholders—both inside and outside the organisation.
And while the successful adoption of new innovations is critically dependent on human factors, these are often lost in the mix as new technology is rolled out. There are many examples where great technical solutions have not been adopted due to a lack of consideration of how these solutions fit within the larger personal and social context.