Roadmaps for Business Innovation: the way to seize opportunities in a changing world

22nd February, 2017

It’s common belief that the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations in 2015 is just a governmental responsibility. But what if also business could contribute in achieving these goals and even gain from including them in their agenda? Innovation is the key word.

A recent report by the Business and Sustainable Development Commission, a high level organization uniting business leaders for investigating the business case for sustainable development, highlighted, business can benefit from adopting innovative approaches directed to a more sustainable business. It is estimated that sustainable business models could open economic opportunities worth at least US$12 trillion and up to 380 million new jobs a year by 2030. The majority of businesses successfully targeting these sustainable market opportunities today are built on digital technologies, in for example supporting a sharing or circular economy model, or adopting big data and machine learning approaches or implementing lean service methodologies and building new social enterprise models. For example, the Bla Bla Car with its car sharing activities between cities across European avoided 1 million tons of CO2 emission in just 2 years. Another example in Pakistan an innovation called DoctHERs is a digital platform connecting qualified female doctors to patients unable to access affordable healthcare. DoctHERs calculates that adopting this leaner model across the 6,500 clinics currently providing healthcare assistance to underserved communities could save US$78 million per year[i].

When asking businesses why they choose to tackle sustainability challenges with their business model, growth and new business opportunities are often mentioned as the main reasons. First mover companies are already benefiting from the opportunities opened up by the Sustainable Development Goals and they will enjoy a 5 to 15 year advantage. Across all innovations such the estimated rewards for innovative and sustainable business are significant and can reduce companies’ cost of capital among many other business benefits.

Responsible Innovation COMPASS project was specially designed to support SMEs in building responsible innovation roadmaps to capitalize on exactly the opportunities that the Business and Sustainable Development Commission outlines. The report recommends that creating roadmaps can be very useful for a business that aims to include Sustainable Development Goals in their strategic agenda. Roadmaps can help a business to develop a vision of the sector opportunities in the long run, pinpoint the areas where a change is necessary, identify potential solutions and analyze options to overcome potential barriers to the development of those solutions.

What are you waiting for? If your business is ready to seize the opportunities responsible innovation can bring, get in touch and build your roadmap with support of your peers and COMPASS experts!

Learn more how you too can develop your responsible innovation roadmap!

[i] For more examples of responsible innovation see

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