2019 Benefitting Society Finalist: Ivey Business School, Canada

Tags: International Green Gown Awards 2019 | benefitting society

2019 Benefitting Society Finalist: Ivey Business School, Canada image #1 2019 Benefitting Society Finalist: Ivey Business School, Canada image #2 2019 Benefitting Society Finalist: Ivey Business School, Canada image #3 2019 Benefitting Society Finalist: Ivey Business School, Canada image #4 2019 Benefitting Society Finalist: Ivey Business School, Canada image #5 2019 Benefitting Society Finalist: Ivey Business School, Canada image #6 2019 Benefitting Society Finalist: Ivey Business School, Canada image #7

Innovating for Sustainability

In partnership with Université du Québec à Montréal, University of Alberta and University of New Mexico

Our team is working closely with 5 companies, 5 universities and 7 government bodies and non-profits to understand the inhibitors and facilitators to sustainability-oriented innovation in business. Our ambition is to move Canada’s innovation agenda, so that all corporate innovations create shared value – value for business and society simultaneously. In Canada, US$27.6B is spent each year on research and development. Imagine if all innovations created value for business and society, not just for business.

The project involves 3 streams: 

  1. engaged scholarship on sustainability-oriented innovation
  2. large-scale capacity building for sustainability-oriented innovation
  3. international leadership on engaged scholarship

The project is led by Tima Bansal (project lead, Ivey Business School), Joel Gehman (co-investigator, University of Alberta), Marie-France Turcotte (co-investigator, Université du Québec à Montréal) and Garima Sharma (co-investigator, University of New Mexico).

Top 3 learnings:

  1. Collaboration with unlikely bedfellows is key. To innovate for sustainability, organizations need to work with unlikely collaborators, such as competitors, Indigenous communities and universities. However, these collaborations require unique skills and new models of collaboration.
  2. Accelerating sustainable innovations for large infrastructure projects is difficult. It’s well known that many innovations fail at the pilot stage. We discovered a second, unexpected “valley of death,” where proven tech innovations can’t secure funding to implement at scale.
  3. Conventional innovation processes aim to do ‘less harm’; sustainable innovations need to encourage ‘doing more good’. Most corporations seek efficiencies through innovations that reduce their footprint. We uncovered a new approach that involves spotting megatrends and leveraging them to advance a desirable future.

What is means to win

“In an age when disruptions are broader, deeper and arriving faster than we have previously experienced, it is more important than ever for business to innovate to the benefit of society. This International Green Gown Award would celebrate the importance of creating shared value through corporate innovation.”

Mark Vandenbosch
Acting Dean, Ivey Business School