Sustainability in Innovation Management 

 

Why innovation and sustainability must go hand in hand

 

Our aim is to help shape innovations right from the start along the entire value chain, taking a holistic view of the ecological, social and economic effects. Together with the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging (Fraunhofer IVV) and as part of the NewFoodSystems innovation space, we have therefore further developed existing innovation processes and expanded them to include central aspects of sustainability.

The result is a holistically conceived, sustainably oriented innovation management process, the "Sustainable Innovation Process" or "SIP" for short.

Success factors of the SIP from a sustainability perspective include:

  • a clear objective at the beginning of the innovation process with a focus on sustainability and social added value, which is considered trend-setting for the entire process,
  • the early and continuous involvement of stakeholders – internal and external – to explore social acceptance, as well as
  • iterative processes – inspired by design thinking methods – and flexibility that help to sharpen the view on the goals and to optimize the innovations again and again

The SIP at a glance

For a simplified link to practice, the basic features of the SIP are based on proven innovation process models, the so-called Stage-Gate® processes (according to Cooper 1996). However, in order to be able to respond better to uncertain and rapidly changing framework conditions, we have further developed these models.
The model is especially focused on products but can also be applied to services. It consists of five implementation phases that map the conventional innovation process and a newly added, upstream analysis and goal setting phase.

Click through the SIP and find out how sustainable innovation management can succeed!

©Innovationsraum NewFoodSystems

Continuous Update

Of course, even beyond Phase 5 and the innovation process, the acceptance and benefits of the innovation products or services created, as well as the fulfillment of sustainability criteria, must be reviewed and, if necessary, adjustments made to changing framework conditions.

Stakeholder Corridor & Consumer Acceptance

For the acceptance of the innovation products or services and their subsequent added value or market sales, it is important that you know the society’s expectations and requirements. For this purpose, you should involve internal, but also external stakeholders at an early stage.

Phase 0 – Target Setting & frame

In Phase 0, discuss the framework for your innovation project, identify the intended (societal) benefits, and set a clear target direction. Use key societal and or policy frameworks as a guide, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the concept of Planetary Boundaries, or international or national policy frameworks.

Possible Activities and Methods:
  • Stakeholder Analysis / Mapping
  • PESTEL Analyse

!Crosscheck Phase o
Keep an eye on your goal alignment throughout the entire innovation process. Regularly cross-check with the goals and guiding principles you formulate in Phase 0.

Checklists for each phase help to monitor progress in the SIP

Phase 1 – Idea Generation & Idea Assessment

In phase 1, deal with the concrete design of your innovation idea. In a first step, collect or consolidate ideas and possible solutions for your innovation. Make a selection and question, compare and evaluate. It is important that you also take into account the sustainability perspective established in phase 0.

Possible Activities and Methods:

Idea generation

  • Design thinking
  • Open innovation
  • Blue Ocean approach

Idea assessment

  • SWOT analysis
  • Market potential analysis
  • Materiality analysis

!Crosscheck Phase
Keep an eye on your goal alignment throughout the innovation process. Regularly cross-check with the goals and guiding principles you formulate in Phase 0.

Checklists for each phase help to monitor progress in the SIP

Phase 2 – Concept Development & Product Planning

The focus in phase 2 is on the more detailed design of the selected innovation idea. The focus here is on conception, planning and elaboration of the innovation product. Analyze your innovation idea in terms of economic viability at this stage and also keep an eye on the sustainability perspective.

Possible Activities and Methods:
  • Materiality analysis (continued)
  • Economic viability analysis / business case
  • (Foresight) lifecycle analysis (LCA)
  • Consumer acceptance analysis / customer convenience

!Crosscheck Phase
Keep an eye on your goal alignment throughout the innovation process. Regularly cross-check with the goals and guiding principles you formulate in Phase 0.

Checklists for each phase help to monitor progress in the SIP

Phase 3 – Product Development and Prototype Creation

Phase 3 is about implementing the innovation idea – about the actual manufacturing of a product or the development of a service. You should already consider the interaction of supply and value chains as well as target group-oriented and sustainable product characteristics. In addition, the sustainability of the product / service plays an important role here insofar as the developed solution should provide as much social benefit as possible while leaving an as small (ecological) footprint as possible.

Possible Activities and Methods:
  • Materiality analysis (continued)
  • Economic viability analysis / business case (continued)
  • Lifecycle analysis (LCA)
  • SCRUM
  • Lean startup

!Crosscheck Phase
Keep an eye on your goal alignment throughout the innovation process. Regularly cross-check with the goals and guiding principles you formulate in Phase 0.

Checklists for each phase help to monitor progress in the SIP

Phase 4 – Pilot Application & Testing

In Phase 4, create a pilot version of the product or service and plan an extensive testing phase. Once you have completed your product, launch a pilot version and take the opportunity to conduct consumer testing. Also deal with the scaling of the product or service and prepare for serial production or the ultimate rollout.

Possible Activities and Methods:
  • Consumer acceptance analysis (continued)
  • Market analysis
  • Produkt design

!Crosscheck Phase
Keep an eye on your goal alignment throughout the innovation process. Regularly cross-check with the goals and guiding principles you formulate in Phase 0.

Checklists for each phase help to monitor progress in the SIP

Phase 5 – Production & Market Launch

Phase 5 is about the start of production of the final product or the rollout of the service and the introduction to the market – the launch. By means of targeted, fact-based communication and (sustainability) marketing, you can set yourself apart from competitors. For long-term customer acceptance, the focus here should also be on customer orientation and sustainability.

Possible Activities and Methods:
  • Consumer / customer acceptance analysis (continued)
  • 4C marketing

!Crosscheck Phase
Keep an eye on your goal alignment throughout the innovation process. Regularly cross-check with the goals and guiding principles you formulate in Phase 0.

Checklists for each phase help to monitor progress in the SIP

©Innovationsraum NewFoodSystems

Stakeholder Corridor & Consumer Acceptance

For the acceptance of the innovation products or services and their subsequent added value or market sales, it is important that you know the society’s expectations and requirements. For this purpose, you should involve internal, but also external stakeholders at an early stage.

Back to the graphic

Phase 0 – Target Setting & frame

In Phase 0, discuss the framework for your innovation project, identify the intended (societal) benefits, and set a clear target direction. Use key societal and or policy frameworks as a guide, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the concept of Planetary Boundaries, or international or national policy frameworks.

Possible Activities and Methods:
  • Stakeholder Analysis / Mapping
  • PESTEL Analyse

!Crosscheck Phase o
Keep an eye on your goal alignment throughout the entire innovation process. Regularly cross-check with the goals and guiding principles you formulate in Phase 0.

Checklists for each phase help to monitor progress in the SIP

Back to the graphic

Phase 1 – Idea Generation & Idea Assessment

In phase 1, deal with the concrete design of your innovation idea. In a first step, collect or consolidate ideas and possible solutions for your innovation. Make a selection and question, compare and evaluate. It is important that you also take into account the sustainability perspective established in phase 0.

Possible Activities and Methods:

Idea generation

  • Design thinking
  • Open innovation
  • Blue Ocean approach

Idea assessment

  • SWOT analysis
  • Market potential analysis
  • Materiality analysis

!Crosscheck Phase
Keep an eye on your goal alignment throughout the innovation process. Regularly cross-check with the goals and guiding principles you formulate in Phase 0.

Checklists for each phase help to monitor progress in the SIP

Back to the graphic

Phase 2 – Concept Development & Product Planning

The focus in phase 2 is on the more detailed design of the selected innovation idea. The focus here is on conception, planning and elaboration of the innovation product. Analyze your innovation idea in terms of economic viability at this stage and also keep an eye on the sustainability perspective.

Possible Activities and Methods:
  • Materiality analysis (continued)
  • Economic viability analysis / business case
  • (Foresight) lifecycle analysis (LCA)
  • Consumer acceptance analysis / customer convenience

!Crosscheck Phase
Keep an eye on your goal alignment throughout the innovation process. Regularly cross-check with the goals and guiding principles you formulate in Phase 0.

Checklists for each phase help to monitor progress in the SIP

Back to the graphic

Phase 3 – Product Development and Prototype Creation

Phase 3 is about implementing the innovation idea – about the actual manufacturing of a product or the development of a service. You should already consider the interaction of supply and value chains as well as target group-oriented and sustainable product characteristics. In addition, the sustainability of the product / service plays an important role here insofar as the developed solution should provide as much social benefit as possible while leaving an as small (ecological) footprint as possible.

Possible Activities and Methods:
  • Materiality analysis (continued)
  • Economic viability analysis / business case (continued)
  • Lifecycle analysis (LCA)
  • SCRUM
  • Lean startup

!Crosscheck Phase
Keep an eye on your goal alignment throughout the innovation process. Regularly cross-check with the goals and guiding principles you formulate in Phase 0.

Checklists for each phase help to monitor progress in the SIP

Back to the graphic

Phase 4 – Pilot Application & Testing

In Phase 4, create a pilot version of the product or service and plan an extensive testing phase. Once you have completed your product, launch a pilot version and take the opportunity to conduct consumer testing. Also deal with the scaling of the product or service and prepare for serial production or the ultimate rollout.

Possible Activities and Methods:
  • Consumer acceptance analysis (continued)
  • Market analysis
  • Produkt design

!Crosscheck Phase
Keep an eye on your goal alignment throughout the innovation process. Regularly cross-check with the goals and guiding principles you formulate in Phase 0.

Checklists for each phase help to monitor progress in the SIP

Back to the graphic

Phase 5 – Production & Market Launch

Phase 5 is about the start of production of the final product or the rollout of the service and the introduction to the market – the launch. By means of targeted, fact-based communication and (sustainability) marketing, you can set yourself apart from competitors. For long-term customer acceptance, the focus here should also be on customer orientation and sustainability.

Possible Activities and Methods:
  • Consumer / customer acceptance analysis (continued)
  • 4C marketing

!Crosscheck Phase
Keep an eye on your goal alignment throughout the innovation process. Regularly cross-check with the goals and guiding principles you formulate in Phase 0.

Checklists for each phase help to monitor progress in the SIP

Back to the graphic

Continuous Update

Of course, even beyond Phase 5 and the innovation process, the acceptance and benefits of the innovation products or services created, as well as the fulfillment of sustainability criteria, must be reviewed and, if necessary, adjustments made to changing framework conditions.

Back to the graphic

Strategic Framework and Objectives

Together we define the strategic framework for your innovation. We set the guidelines on the way to realizing your goals and support you in determining the desired (social) benefit of your innovation. In doing so, we are always guided by central frameworks of sustainability such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Sustainable Innovation Process

Consistent integration of sustainability challenges requires anchoring in the innovation process model. This means that corresponding criteria and indicator models are necessary in order to make innovation specifically sustainable along the economic, ecological and social dimensions. Together with you, we analyze the specific design requirements along the entire value chain and support you in various areas.

Stakeholder Analysis
For the acceptance of the innovative products and their subsequent added value or market sales, it is important that you know the attitudes and requirements of society and your stakeholders. To do this, you should involve internal and, above all, external stakeholders at an early stage. We support you in the creation and evaluation of a corresponding "stakeholder map" as the basis for an innovation that takes into account the most important people, groups and opinions right from the start.

Stakeholder and Value Chain Dialogues
It is no longer enough to only concern yourself with the direct effects of business activities, i. e. with location-related environmental protection and occupational safety. Rather, it is about assessing positive and negative effects along the entire value chain, from resource extraction to recycling. Only in this way can unused values for business and society be optimally used. Together we evaluate your value chains. We design and moderate stakeholder dialogues with participants along the value chain in order to identify common opportunities and use synergies.

Communication & Marketing
A credible story behind the sustainable innovation is important for external communication and marketing. We help you to formulate key messages and to integrate them into the marketing strategy. We communicate dilemmas and conflicting goals transparently. We support you so that you remain able to speak – also in crisis communication.

Networking

Network of companies that include sustainability in their business model, start-ups that have sustainability as their core business and align innovations with it. We can connect you.

 

You can find out more about innovation management within the NewFoodSystems innovation space here:

All information about the SIP is summarized in a practice-oriented guide. This contains:

  • Detailed information on the individual phases and methods
  • Checklists for each phase that help to measure your own progress
  • A canvas that bundles central questions of innovation from the perspective of utilization and sustainability

We would be happy to provide you with the guidelines and answer your questions about the Sustainable Innovation Process.

 

Your persons to contact

Teresa Erben

Teresa Erben

Senior Consultant

Mobile: +49 170 2272796
E-mail: teresa.erben@fors.earth

 

Dr. Alexis Katechakis

Dr. Alexis Katechakis

Managing Director

Mobile: +49 151 19184526
E-mail: alexis.katechakis@fors.earth

 

 

 

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