Sustainable Innovation for a Sustainable World

Sustainable innovation is at the forefront of many business strategies today as environmental concerns rise globally and calls for saving our planet with reduced use of resources grow day by day. Sustainable product innovation and development is no longer an option but a necessity for creating a more sustainable world built upon a circular economy. The drive to sustainability, and subsequent investments to decarbonize the global economy, may prove to be the largest business opportunity that entire industries, individual companies, and PLM professionals will ever experience.

The PLM Green Global Alliance recently hosted an international panel discussion on “Sustainable Innovation ⇔ Sustainable World” to examine the innovation challenges that arise on the path to sustainable development. The panel was moderated by Ilan Madjar, Co-Founder of xLM Solutions with participants Frank Popielas Co-Founder of SMS_ThinkTank, and Jos Voskuil, PLM Coach and Blogger at the Virtual Dutchman.

During the session the panel contrasted the differences between “system thinking” versus “linear thinking”, discussing which approach has the most potential to contribute to sustainability development goals given the trends of rapidly increasing product complexity and market globalization. There are many interdependent terms in the overall sustainability equation including sustainability of business models, funding streams, industries, processes, product markets, partnerships, suppliers, and of course natural resources. Where does one begin to analyze this as a system-of-systems without being overwhelmed?

Ilan Madjar cited the Boston Consulting Group article The Next Generation of Climate Innovation to ask whether disruptive new startups or existing industry leaders have both the process agility and scalable capacity required to fully leverage more sustainable business visions, models and partnerships.

Frank Popielas commented upon how the COVID pandemic demonstrated that digital transformation and innovation can happen much faster and is more doable than many of us believed possible. Yet, the move to sustainability will accelerate an even larger transformation in systems thinking, processes, and business cultures. These innovations may prove to be more important than those due to just technology or software alone.

Jos Voskuil closed by discussing the role of the PLM as a foundation for systems thinking and a platform for innovation. Big and fast changes in the way businesses operate will elevate the importance of PLM technologies that can help companies transform themselves into more sustainable businesses to manifest a sustainable global economy.

Hear more of what the panelists had to say by watching the discussion HERE on YouTube, then share your comment below on what you believe to be the greatest sustainability challenges or opportunities within your own industry or profession.

You may also follow our ongoing discussion about the intersection of Product Lifecycle Management and Sustainability on our moderated topical website pages HERE where we collect useful resources and share examples, as well as within the PLM Green LinkedIn group.

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