Thursday, February 12, 2009
At the leading edge of the sustainability movement in business is the concept of 'transformational innovation' that reformulates the heavy burden of environmental accountability into a "blue ocean of opportunity". The idea is to make sustainability "irresistible" to people. There's a great article on this method of thinking by Tamara Giltsoff here.
I'm a big fan because it's about whole systems thinking rather than just offsetting your carbon footprint or trying to generate your companies power with solar energy. These ideas are great, but we have a golden opportunity to look at and reshape the way we operate business across the board --and it doesn't have to suck!
Case in point is the brilliant work that IBM is doing with their “Smarter Planet” campaign. IBM has identified its need to focus on global systems and infrastructure innovation to support sustainable transformation because they have connected it with their core brand identity of being "the leading infrastructure and systems innovator." They realize that they can take on some of the biggest problems in the world because they have a core competency of knowledge, deep research and experience spanning multiple industries.
This is a great example of utilizing and understanding a companies "brand essence" and thus more readily adapting to global market shifts (and why it's so important to be crystal clear on your brand competency and stay with it) to be poised to innovate in turbulent times.
Now is the time to strategically shape and define your role in a sustainable world and align it with the core of your brand. There is enormous potential for smart innovators in this brave new "blue" world.