Reverse Engineering Google’s Innovation Machine

Powerful Essays
Organizational capabilities as the key to Sustainable
Innovation
Cécile van Oppen*
Squarewise, Claude Debussylaan 48, 1082 MD Amsterdam, The
Netherlands
E-mail: vanoppen@squarewise.com

Luc Brugman
Squarewise, Claude Debussylaan 48, 1082 MD Amsterdam, The
Netherlands
E-mail brugman@squarewise.com
* Corresponding author
Abstract: Whereas organizations traditionally approach sustainability from a technical perspective, and strive to “do things better”, we argue that the sustainability challenges of our time require companies to “do things differently”. This differentiation and market creation strategy will allow companies to sufficiently leverage sustainability as a business opportunity. We introduce the concept of Sustainable Innovation (SI) as the means for companies to create new markets through the synergetic relationship of sustainability and innovation. Although academic literature has broadly noted the significance of SI, we fill the gap in literature by describing how to achieve
SI. We argue that in order to achieve SI, different organizational capabilities are needed. After providing a theoretical basis as well as a theoretical framework, we consequently offer an organizational capabilities model that facilitates SI, supported with fourteen hypotheses. The hypotheses are formed through academic literature and case study research.
Keywords: Sustainability; Sustainable Innovation; Organizational Capabilities

The growing concerns for sustainability within the business landscape compel organizations to leverage sustainability as a business opportunity. We define sustainability as “…meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”1. We argue that traditional organizations are not fully equipped for this challenge. We propose that this is not because these organizations lack motivation, but rather because sustainability is approached through a primarily technical perspective. This perspective



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