Prickly Wisdom

I am forever thankful to my friend Katja who recommended me reading Muriel Barbery’s warm and intelligent “The Elegance of the Hedgehog”. This book celebrates learning, but also demands that we do something good or beautiful with our new knowledge.

A great source of inspiration for good deeds is Harvard Business Review’s September issue. In it several important aspects of sustainable business development is covered, very much related to the HINT project I’m working with at Innovationsbron.

Constant innovation is the key to survival, why it is interesting to read about how LEGO and Cisco have approach this issue using the wisdom of the crowd through competitions and end-user communities. Engagement from employees is also important, where a green strategy can boost moral as well as innovation.

Women as an often neglected market because of lack of diversity in company workforces and boards is another topic (although I think this particular article was a little bit traditional in its pick of products). Six key female consumer segments are identified and, yes, I could see myself in this model.

C K Prahalad has written several interesting HBR articles all related to sustainability the last years. In this issue he argues that sustainability of the key driver for innovation and describes five stages for companies on their way towards sustainability. Another piece looks at renewable energy and Bill Clinton talks about how to create value even in the middle of an economical crisis.

Blue Ocean Strategy is described as a way for a company to actually have an impact on the context it operates in. This is a way for the entrepreneur who is not afraid of taking on the double task of changing the world and attracting customers. Like the CSR-driven entrepreneurs in focus in a Nordic research project.

What is also interesting with this issue is that only a few of the articles mentioned above can be found in the “Sustainability + Innovation” section. Apparently, HBR only considers environmental aspects as sustainable. Me, I’m still in favour of the People-Planet-Profit definition of sustainability.

One important aspect of sustainability is of course to be long-lasting. This is the topic of many of Jim Collin’s research project. One of my favourite books is “Good to Great” where, of course, the hedgehog concept is one key to survival.

“A hedgehog concept is not a goal to be the best, it is an understanding of
what you can be best at.”
Jim Collins

No comments: