Companies are increasingly required to act in a socially and ecologically sustainable manner. The City of Vienna Competence Team “Change for Corporate Sustainability” supports Austrian companies with the research project “Transformation for Sustainability” in their strategic transformation towards sustainability and supports sustainability-oriented innovation. The competence team is funded by the City of Vienna and is based at the Institute for Business Ethics and Sustainable Strategy (IBES) at FHWien der WKW.
Sustainability-oriented innovation is the deliberate change of a company’s anchored philosophy and values as well as its products, processes or practices with the aim of creating social and environmental value in addition to economic value. Generating and implementing such innovations requires certain skills, known as strategic change competencies.
As a first step, the project team has identified five innovation types in recent months that determine the current state of a company’s strategic change competencies:
- Type 1 – “Informed Optimisers”
- Type 2 – “Informed Innovators“
- Type 3 – “Cooperating Optimisers“
- Type 4 – “Cooperating Innovators“
- Type 5 – “System Transformers“
Which type of innovation a company can be assigned to depends, on the one hand, on the extent to which stakeholders are involved in the innovation process. On the other hand, the degree to which innovations are targeted or implemented plays a decisive role. Is information “only” obtained from outside or is there active cooperation with stakeholders? Is it a matter of optimizations of existing products and processes or radical innovations?
Currently, the theoretical model of innovation types is being researched in practice. By means of interviews, the project team is examining innovation projects with sustainability relevance in Austrian companies.
In addition to the interviews, companies can take advantage of a free “Sustainability Innovation Check” including a Positive Impact Workshop to reflect on the results and derive concrete improvement measures.
Interested companies that are planning or already implementing sustainability-oriented innovations can register for interviews respectively the “Sustainability Innovation Check” at the IBES of FHWien of WKW.