Sustainability as a Driver for Innovation

Jesper Anker Christensen & Simon Kjær Jørgensen

Studenteropgave: Kandidatafhandlinger

Abstrakt

Growing attention is given to sustainability in the context of business and in academia. It is becoming increasingly apparent that firms that invest resources in transitioning into sustainable practices reap benefits and enhance their competitive advantage in comparison to firms persisting with the business as usual approach. Taking these considerations into account, this thesis will investigate innovation labs geographically located in Copenhagen, Denmark, and ask how the labs perceive sustainability and how they embed sustainability into their innovation processes. Theoretically founded in literature that advance the benefits for firms to consider a holistic sustainability perspective, the purpose of the thesis is also to discuss how innovation labs can move towards more sustainable practices, as well as discussing how they might embed sustainability into their innovation processes.
The empirical data of the thesis is qualitative, collected from 15 semi-structured interviews distributed among the 14 different innovation labs of our research sample. Based on these interviews, this thesis will provide an analysis of how the labs perceive sustainability and how they embed sustainability into their innovation processes. The theoretical framework employed includes theory of the triple bottom line, the sustainability sweet spot, sustainability-oriented innovation and a five stages of change model firms arguably go through when becoming sustainable.
The overall findings of this thesis are that there exists no shared language or perception of sustainability among the labs. Though, some labs have established a shared language of sustainability internally. Some labs have embedded sustainability into their processes, though, it appears either narrowly focused on parts of the sustainability agenda or it appears to be practiced rather implicitly. Furthermore, this thesis discusses that having established a shared language of sustainability might advance the move toward sustainable practices. Consequently, a matrix is created to visualize the positioning of the labs in relation to the theories employed, which also serves as a means for the discussion on how innovation labs might embed sustainability into the predominant approach of design thinking employed by the innovation labs.

UddannelserCand.soc.oie Organisational Innovation and Entrepreneurship , (Kandidatuddannelse) Afsluttende afhandling
SprogEngelsk
Udgivelsesdato2017
Antal sider149