Innovation is one of the defining features of modernity. It is the ability to change something that already exists, or a process that has been in existence for a specific period of time. Innovation can also be used to refer to an innovation in a technological domain, such as a new computer or cellular phone. In the business context, innovation is often used to refer to a change in the procedures, materials, and/or services being offered by a company.
The defining attributes of innovation have often been challenged. Many people are hesitant to use the word innovation in their daily lives because they worry it could cause a loss of quality or creativity. Others might say that innovation is good because it creates value for a better product or service, or it is necessary because a new idea could prevent the same problem from occurring in the future. Still others contend that all markets need innovation because without it competition becomes ineffective, and markets can’t prosper. These views are not inconsistent with the definition of innovation, but neither do they provide a clear way of seeing how innovation can actually create value and create success for a business.
In fact, the history of innovation shows us that some innovations were introduced as step-ups or solutions to existing problems, rather than novel products. For example, many inventions were invented to make transportation more efficient and safe, such as the electric motor, the airplanes, and the new automobiles. Some innovations were designed to make something cheaper or more available, such as the cotton gin, the internal combustion engine, and the telephone. And yet other innovations were developed to bring about social change, such as the textile shop systems of nineteenth-century England, and twentieth-century Germany.
Even if we define innovation as a process that adds value over and above what was already available, it still doesn’t provide a clear way of measuring innovation’s impact on sustainability. Innovation may add sustainable value, or it may not. One way to determine the impact of marketing innovation on sustainability is to see if it adds value for people who would not have access to the new product or technology, whether it’s through subsidies or market exclusivity. Another measure of the impact of marketing innovation on sustainability is to see what it does for the environment. A third way to look at the impact of marketing innovation on sustainability is to see what it does for the sustainability of the companies it helps.
There is a potential conflict between the expansion of the market and the creation of value. Expansion creates an immediate need for resources and so must be accompanied by a growth in the size of the economy. However, the creation of value created by eco-innovation could potentially create more sustainable development by reducing the impact of extraction, consumption, and waste. Moreover, the effects of eco-innovation could have a beneficial impact on the future sustainability of the planet, given that most of Earth’s resources come from natural sources.
Marketing innovation and its impact on sustainable development is a critical issue that needs to be addressed. However, marketing and other forms of innovation aren’t always viewed as such when they are implemented within a company. Companies tend to focus on the short-term benefits of innovation, ignoring the long-term ones. If a company wants to succeed, it needs to create a culture of innovation that is able to address both short-term and long-term issues. Doing so will create new opportunities for sustainability.