Product innovation has something of a mystical quality to it. It requires inspiration, but there are steps companies can take to get the creative cogs turning

It’s long been said that necessity is the mother of invention. That’s as may be. But today, in the here and now, the absolute No 1 necessity is to put our global systems onto a more sustainable footing. A big part of that centres on the products we use every day, from cars and carpets to toilet roll and tissues.

The all-too-necessary nature of today’s sustainability challenge should be sparking innovation all around us. Yet it isn’t. Okay, so it may be a tiny bit. Think of Persil’s breakthrough laundry detergent that washes at 30C. Or carpet tile backing made by the Dutch “cradle-to-cradle” evangelist Desso that is 100% recyclable (it’s made from  polyolefin). Yet such examples are too small-scale and too infrequent to drive the systemic changes that our planet needs. 

So how to up the pace and drive product innovators to integrate sustainability into the everyday of what they do? 

Envisioning the future

First things first: set a vision. Corporate professionals are busy with their day jobs. Don’t expect them to unduly fret about the world or assume they themselves have a role in solving its challenges.

Desso’s portfolio of stellar “closed loop”, low impact products didn’t come about by accident. In...

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CR Strategy  innovation  Oliver Balch  Sustainability commercialised 

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