Sustainability Management as part of your Innovation Strategy

In order for a company to have a sustainable business each senior manager should have assigned responsibility for sustainability within each business unit.  Innovation strategy and sustainability management go hand in hand for future growth, and excellence in execution of ‘brilliant’ innovative ideas. The senior managers should oversee the following:

  • Implementation of local sustainability policies and initiatives.

  • Development of local sustainability policies and processes.

  • Collation of all relevant data on sustainability issues.

  • Reporting of all progress to company’s sustainability team.

In many companies and business units, individual managers might oversee sustainability activities alongside other professional responsibilities. These activities are therefore reflected in the overall assessment of the sustainability manager’s job performance.

The need for sustainability team is vital for business success, thus the company has to appoint a Head of Sustainability to execute their enterprise wide sustainability goals.

The Head of Sustainability should report to the CEO, and the organization should have a member of company’s Management Board be responsible for sustainability issues. Questions of strategy and policy are subject to approval by company’s Executive and Management Boards.

For example the Aegon company uses this innovation model and embracing sustainability management successfully with excellent results as reported in their 2012 Annual Report (what sustainability means to us).

In this business model. the responsibilities of local sustainability management include:

  • Managing the strategic framework for business unit sustainability activities; developing and introducing relevant policies; and

  • Supporting operating entities in integrating and implementing the department’s strategic approach and policies

  • Coordinating the main sustainability activities between subsidiaries, strategic functions and Executive Board of Management

  • Further integrating sustainability aspects into existing business processes and operations

  • Acting as a knowledge hub and facilitating best practice exchange across the business units

Additionally, the company might utilize existing business processes, such as Risk Management Framework, Project Management Framework and Compliance System, to establish minimum sustainability standards and monitor compliance with them.

By Tanya Petrova, MSMIS, PMP at Green PM Consulting
www.LinkedIn.com/in/tanyapetrova

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Why should we hire you when we can outsource or crowdsource it?

Yes, I know, it is a loaded question, but every opportunity I get to run this experiment on my digital marketing students I do it; and to add a little motivation for them to participate, I add: “… and whomever gives me the right answer, I will make sure they get the job.”

Usually many eager hands go up for a chance to answer the question, so I pick a few students and listen to their answers, but so far to this day, all have missed the point.  But everyone deserve a second chance and invite them to think about it a little more and write me an email with the answer.

Imagine you are at a job interview — I tell the class — and the interview has gone great, they like you, you like them and then, as you are just about the head out, someone knocks at the door and a head pops in through the corner of the door frame.  The head belongs to the  the boss of-the-boss of the people interviewing you.  She apologizes for the interruption and ask you if she can ask you one last question before you leave.  You nod your head in approval and she walks into the room and asks the question — “So why should we hire you and not just outsource/freelance it?”

Although the scenario above is unlikely to happen to you in an interview, I can assure you it is happening, and it is happening every day in all companies.  The main reason for this is because employee costs have a direct and significant impact the to the bottom line. But the interesting part is; if the current trend towards an open talent economy holds, things will flip upside-down and the same question might sound something like “So why should we freelance/crowdsource it and not just hire you?”

According to my friends at Deloitte, in their Human Capital Trends 2013 leading indicators publication, by 2020 half the people you rely on will not actually work for you.  So allow me to be the first one to welcome to the open talent economy — “a collaborative, transparent, technology-driven, rapid-cycle way of doing business. What the open source model did for software, the open talent economy is doing for work.”

So getting back to what is the right answer, as you might already suspect, it depends.  Not all the jobs can be outsourced for a myriad of reasons.  To name a few, security, intellectual property, technology trade barriers, physical location dependency, etc.  But many can be freelanced/outsourced/crowdsourced and by doing so, companies and individuals will gain significant advantages in cost, flexibility and speed.

If I was at that interview, I will answer to the executive something like “If your company is ready to outsource/crowdsource/freelance then you should and I am the freelancer to do it for you.  If in the other hand, the company is not ready, I can help you innovate faster and more efficiently than anyone else.”  Then I will pause to let her process the info and then toss my favorite theatrical quote for the occasion, “Help me… help you.” — Jerry Maguire [1996].

by Juan Meza

Building innovation teams is a top priority for CEOs

The creation of an innovation team is not something that can be taken lightly in order to be effective.  The job demands good strategy and strong commitment and involves the formulation and creation of a culture that would encompass the whims of innovation through the process of encouragement and promotion of entrepreneurship in the organization.  According to the most recent research conducted by the Conference Board, CEO Challenge 2013, innovation is among the top 3 challenges faced by CEO’s in 2013. need to tackle. Moreover, this report also ranks at the top, issues related to human capital, for example training and retention, both important aspects of innovation.

Conference Board, CEO Challenge 2013

Conference Board, CEO Challenge 2013

In the pursuit of growth and innovation, executive leadership is committing to the allocation of dedicated teams that are responsible for leading the entire organization.  The Chief Innovation Officer is yet another important figure when it comes to guiding the plans and goals of organization towards creation of new ideas and profit. The Innovation Leader Forum (ILF) has been working for the past three years connecting innovators and leaders who are directly concerned for the initiation of an organizational change.

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Innovation must encompass the entire organization

Innovation in any organization is about doing something new or different which would turn out to be beneficial.  It involves the encouragement of new ideas and perspectives in all dimensions of the business and it must go all the way from operations to customer service.  For innovation initiatives to be truly effective, they must encompass the entire organization.   Among the numerous facets to consider, there are four key aspects that require special attention and these are,

Sony Latin America’s Juan Meza asked, “Who is going to make the next iPhone? Is it going to be Apple? Probably not.” PHOTOS: Carlos Miller

Vision

Many organizations lag behind maybe because they over emphasize on historical performance and data.  Traditional thinking leads us to repeat those things that have worked in the past.  The risk of only focusing on what have worked in before, is that the one thing that was successful before does not guarantee success in the future.  In reality, innovation encompasses looking in the forward direction and not necessarily backwards.

Training

Another core reason, for which most of the companies fail to respond to the need of the modern times, lies in the lack of training.  If the employees and other people linked to the organization are not trained on the latest techniques and methods, growth and expansion of a business will be much slower.  This is often one of the most overlooked aspects of the innovation puzzle, yet one of the most important since most often than not, employees and partners play the most important role in accelerating organizational change or stopping it on its tracks.

Teamwork

Collective effort is something which can be termed to be the backbone of an organization.  The outcome of teamwork is speed and efficiency.  Most modern business challenges are extremely complex, it is unlikely for individuals to get as far as if the task is done collaboratively.  There is no such thing as individualism when working an organization and the companies which emphasize on the teamwork and collaboration are the ones that gain the maximum rewards and profits.

C-Level Support

We are beginning to notice some organizations embrace innovation at the highest levels with the creation of a new C-Level function; welcome the new Chief Innovation Officers. We are seeing these new CIOs transforming the innovation arena, as they not only get the chance to tap on organizational wide resources but have also the responsibility to bring new revenue.  The key point is to secure executive management support to tap the right resources across the organization.

Innovation initiatives are often seen as risky investments by some, however in the hyper competitive environment we live in today, those organizations who do not innovate will soon find themselves fighting for survival as they one day will notice their sales had vanish overnight.

For more on this topic go to  http://www.worldcityweb.com/event-coverage/marketing-connections/101-innovation-sonys-meza-says-must-encompass-entire-company

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We Wait Too Long to Train Our Leaders

According to @HarvardBiz  the average supervisor manages people for 10 years before getting any training, but I have a suspicion some (maybe many) never do.

Extract from HBR’s Blog Network http://bit.ly/SPF6TD

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