Innovation Innovating (and “Please, come to Boston”)

Growing GIBN Conference Call: Overview of Innovation Innovating ActivitiesOpen conference call and discussion on the variety of sustainability innovation activities.11/8 at 2pm ET
Dial-in:  Phone: (760) 569-9000; Code: 160031#


Online Brainstorming:  How can the Internet drive innovation for sustainable business

Join the Dell/EDF Storm Session. Register and then login to comment and vote.


Solutions Lab: The Business of InnovatingAttend the one day conference and discussion to share, learn, and partner.12/8/11 8am to 5pm ET

Microsoft NERD Center

Cambridge MA

Register now for early bird rate


Innovation is a hot topic. For those of us focused on how business can become more environmentally sustainable, innovation is kind of a holy grail. It is through innovation in products, business models, operations, training, finance and more, that we can expect to protect the environment. Business is a major engine of innovation so we’re expecting it to lead the way.

Fortunately, innovation isn’t just an environmental mandate. It is also critical in order for U.S. business to maintain its global leadership and competitiveness. These two threads tie together nicely – innovation for sustainability is a rich vein for new revenue sources, a good way to drive corporate creativity and to improve employee satisfaction.  Sustainability is both a motivation and a result.

While good things come from innovation, it is still hard to do. A variety of efforts are underway to help us understand and improve; to innovate on innovating. We’re hoping you will join this effort.

Business of Innovating Report: Pew Center on Global Climate Change recently released “Business of Innovating: Bringing Low-Carbon Solutions to Market,” a report focused on how to accelerate business innovation to reduce carbon emissions while maintaining economic growth.  The research found that leading companies are focused on low-carbon innovation in order to hedge risk, capture new business and compete with emerging markets and technologies.

Last week, Pew Center hosted a conference in Atlanta to discuss this work. GE Ecomagination Vice President Mark Vachon opened by explaining GE’s aggressive efforts to foster environmentally friendly technology. He said that choosing between revenue and the environment was a false choice and that GE was deliberately choosing “both.” Report author Andrew Hargadon presented key results –seven keys to success – and industry representatives from HP, Daimler, Johnson Controls, Alstom Power, Duke Energy, Honeywell, Alcoa and elsewhere offered their experience.

We want to help continue the conversation Pew Center has started in a few ways.

Online Brainstorming:  Working with Dell, we are hosting an online brainstorming challenge called a “Storm Session” to generate and critique ideas about how the Internet can help drive innovation for sustainable business.  After you register and login, you will be able to add comments and suggestions as well as vote on other’s comments and suggestions.  The Storm Session is open now and will run until November 13, 2011. After it finishes, we’ll summarize results and post them here on the EDF Business blog.

The Business of Innovating Solutions Lab, Boston, 12/8: The Green Innovators in Business Network (GIBN), in collaboration with Pew Center on Global Climate Change as well as InnoCentive, Microsoft, Trucost, Richer Earth, 2degrees and Dig In is hosting its third Solutions Lab at Microsoft’s NERD Center in Cambridge MA on 12/8. Registration is open now (thus, “Please Come to Boston,” which is a blatant steal from Dave Loggins for those of you too young to remember!)

Like all Solutions Labs, this face-to-face event will focus on discussion among participants. We have a great set of catalyst speakers and experts to help stir the conversation, so it will be a wonderful opportunity to dig into the innovation issues in which you are most interested Participants include:

  • Pew report author Andy Hargadon, who will discuss his research results while company representatives from Johnson Controls and Alstom will be on hand to discuss their case studies.
  • Dwayne Spradlin from InnoCentive will join to talk about challenge driven innovation. (Dwayne’s book, The Open Innovation Marketplace, came out earlier this year.)
  • EDF folk will be there to talk about the EcoChallenge Series, which we’re doing with InnoCentive. We have two “challenges” that have been completed recently and one just launching.
  • Kathrin Winkler, Chief Sustainability Officer from EMC will discuss progress their efforts.
  • Helen Clarkson from Forum for the Future will be there to lead discussion about their innovation approaches and lessons.

Early bird registration ends on 11/23, so go ahead and sign-up now!

Open Conference Call: We’re hosting a “Growing GIBN” open conference call on 11/8 at 2pm ET to discuss all of these activities and more around sustainability and innovation. This will be an opportunity to share thoughts on the “Business of Innovation” report, talk about the Innovation Storm Session and discuss what topics you would like to bring up at the Boston Solutions Lab. Please join the call and give your comments, questions and ideas.

Dial-in info:
Phone: (760) 569-9000
Code: 160031#

Talk to you soon!