Tag Archives: sustainability

Crowdsourcing, Innovation, and Sustainability

Why are you drawn to sustainability? Because you love nature? You want to protect the environment? Because it’s good for business?

How about because sustainability is driving amazing innovations?  I’m fascinated by the new technologies being developed to solve environmental problems.  But I’m even more fascinated by the new ways people are creatively collaborating to solving complex environmental issues.

Below are links to some interesting articles I’ve found on innovation and crowdsourcing.  (The first few focus on sustainability, the rest don’t.) I hope you enjoy them.

Britta Riley: A garden in my apartment This Ted Talk video describes how over 18,000 people have contributed to the development and refinement of a “window farm” technology.  This is call “open source collaboration” or “crowdsourcing”.

Can crowdsourcing really crack corporate sustainability? This article features the example of Unilever’s Sustainable Living Lab, a 24-hour, global online event that gathered insights from outside organizations and individuals on key sustainable issues. This led to the launch of a permanent platform dedicated to Open Innovation.

10 Crowdsourcing Success Stories One of the stories is about “My Starbucks Idea”, a Starbucks’ website to solicit ideas and feedback from customers. Ideas break down into three categories: Product, Experience, and Involvement.

Trends for Open Innovation, Co-creation, and Crowdsourcing 1. “You can’t ignore open innovation” 2. “Collaboration, not Competition, is the way forward” 3. “Innovation as a branding strategy” 4. “Use innovation for engagement”

Marissa Mayer’s 9 Principles of Innovation 1. Innovation, not instant perfection,  2. Ideas come from everywhere  3. License to pursue your dreams  4. Morph projects, don’t kill them  5. Share as much information as you can  6. Users, users, users  7. Data is apolitical  8. Creativity loves constraints 9. You’re brilliant? We’re hiring

Innovation: How the Creative Stay Creative The 7 secrets are 1. make free time 2. multi-cultural 3. encourage risky behavior 4. write it down 5. bring in outsiders 6. hire smart 7. do it for free

Pollinators: the new breed of innovators A new breed of “pollinators” has become one of the most dynamic and innovative segments of our workforce. They are an untethered work force that buzzes in and out of companies, moving from project to project, cross-pollinating ideas (and companies) as they go.

8 Ways to Foster Innovation in Your Company 1. Let Every Employee Play Designer 2. Provide Lots of Free Time to Think  3. Use New Software to Round Up Staff Ideas  4. Encourage Risk-Taking  5.Hold an Intern Contest  6.Reward Million-Dollar Ideas  7. New Project, New Team  8. Allocate 10 Percent of Time for Invention.

Feel free to mention other articles you come across.


Posted in crowdsourcing, innovation, open innovation, sustainability | Tagged , , , |

What sustainability efforts could learn from Angry Birds

(This is Part 2, which explores how gamification can “green” employee behavior in order to achieve business goals.  Last month, Part 1 explored how gamification can attract customers and “green” their behavior.) This post also published by GreenBiz.com.

What do Angry Birds and sustainability have in common?

Playing  Angry Birds hooks people, focusing them on developing special skills to achieve ever more difficult goals. That type of game-playing can be a central tool to help companies get their employees involved in delivering on firm-wide sustainability goals from zero waste to greening the supply chain.

Innovative companies are using gamification to re-image work and drive unprecedented engagement across the entire organization”, according to JP Rangaswami, keynote speaker for upcoming Gamification Summit June 19-21.  This is increasingly true for one of business’ top issues – sustainability.

What on Earth is Gamification?

It’s playing games with a purpose, in this case, employee engagement in greening the workplace. Playing electronic games is addictive. It hooks people at the level of their basic social drives for achievement, appreciation, reciprocity, and friendly competition. It grabs attention on social media and speeds up companies’ sustainability processes. In business, people compete individually and in teams for points, prizes, and recognition. They become engaged and motivated.

Why Do We Care?

93% of business leaders identified sustainability as important to their company’s future success, according to a recent survey. They are just looking for ways to make it work. Gamification is one answer. For example, companies using CloudApps’ gamification tools to engage employees in corporate sustainability efforts can save up to 10% on their annual costs of energy, water, waste and business travel, improving their ROI in less than six months.

Seven Gamification Strategies to Increase Employee Engagement in Sustainability

Cloudapps has shared their roadmap as follows:

    1. Align employees’ personal sustainability goals with corporate sustainability vision and goals
    2. Visibly allocate and reward in connection with sustainability budgets and targets
    3. Bring a fun, innovative and competitive approach through the use of game mechanics that includes challenges, badges, levels, rewards and leader boards
    4. Deliver practical sustainability challenges relevant to an employee’s experience
    5. Bring a social networking style of collaboration and communication that drives successful employee-led sustainability initiatives
    6. Harvest employees’ sustainability and cost reduction ideas
    7. Create a workplace ethic that attracts and retains the very best employees

Here’s how very different types of companies apply a mix of these strategies to improve their bottom line and the environment.

Practically Green, a digital community, helps organizations become greener by using technology and social networking to educate, motivate and reward employees for making green changes to their work and home life.  They give points for over 400 different green behaviors, from commuting by bike, buying local produce, to switching to e-bills.

SAP, the German software giant, has a number of green games.  One is a carpooling game called TwoGo, aimed at making carpooling easy and socially cool. Bike at Work lets employees earn points, get feedback, give useful tips to their friends, see calories burned and other fun, motivational stuff.

Deloitte, the consulting firm, has developed a Business Simulation Game that enables players to experiment with sustainable initiatives for their client companies in a safe game setting.  The game allows players make mistakes and try again without losing face. This direct experience accelerates the learning about, and adoption of, sustainability strategies.

Through events like the upcoming Gamification Summit and Coursera’s free online Gamification course offered by Wharton, we’re betting that more companies follow the lead of these pioneers.

While some critics claim that green gamification is a passing fad, here are two leaders who are convinced of its lasting value.

Gamification encourages more lasting behavior change than traditional communications and training efforts because it is simple, personal and relevant, trackable, and shareable.  – Susan Hunt Stevens of Practically Green

Every employee is the head of sustainability. It’s the only way to achieve the aggressive business and environmental growth that we have planned over the next 10-30 years. Frankly, we can’t do it unless everyone is involved.  Emma Peacock of Unilever Australia/New Zealand


Posted in change management, green, sustainability, sustainability consulting, sustainability strategy, Sustainable Business | Tagged , , , , |

Cities Lead Sustainability Efforts

Let me comment on “Bloomberg Takes City Sustainability Program Global” that appeared in Transportation Nation.

Congress is unlikely to pass legislation addressing climate change any time soon.  There is little political will to do so and there hasn’t been since the 1970s, when Congress passed comprehensive environmental laws such as the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, etc.

By contrast, as described in this article, many city mayors are undertaking actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change.  For example, they are encouraging more energy-efficient buildings, turning to “green” infrastructure to minimize storm runoff, etc. Ultimately, such initiatives saves the city and its citizens money and improves the quality of life.

I believe that any real action to address climate change is going to come from cities. For many people, global climate change is too vague. But people know all too well when extreme weather (which will occur more often due to climate change) causes floods that shut down their subways or causes heat-waves that trigger black-outs in their neighborhood. Furthermore, people and the local media can hold their city mayors and other politicians accountable. It would be politically foolish for local leaders not to listen to their constituents’ call for action.

As they say, “all politics is local”.

Posted in change management, green, sustainability, sustainability consulting, sustainability strategy | Tagged , , |