Customers: Unlocking the Doors of Innovation

Blog by Julie Urlaub, Founder and Managing Partner at Taiga Company
Oct 25, 2010 3:39 PM ET

Clients in our sustainability consulting ask, “What circumstances, frameworks or parameters need to be in place to spark creativity, ideas, and innovation in my business?"    As we've discussed previously, the conversation of business sustainability answers that question.  Business sustainability, defined as evaluating the environmental and social impacts of your business to long term profitability, is a vehicle to enable your business to meet your goals of profit, growth, and revenue while positively impacting the environment and social realms of your business.

While that answers the question at a high level, how does a business executive bridge business sustainability and innovation to the bottom line? 
For starters, an open innovation approach to business sustainability offers stakeholders the opportunity to become engaged in the future of a business.  Recognizing that key stakeholders have a vested interest the success of the company, creates openness to new ideas that promote business success and innovative ideas.  Employees are oftentimes viewed as internal stakeholders contributing to innovation within a business but what about your customers?
The post, Great Customers Inspire Great Innovations, sites "The most important link in the innovation value chain is an innovative customer. That is, a customer ready, willing, and able to adopt, adapt — and maybe even pay for — an innovative offering. Just as you don't have a performance without an audience, you can't have innovation without customers."  Furthermore, “The essential question is who are the customers that come with the problem sets and parameters that push you to rethink, or redefine, your business? Which customers and clients does your firm celebrate as innovation partners — and why?"
Innovation, internal and external to a business can be generated by harnessing a business sustainability framework.  

Home to one third of the earth's trees, the Taiga is the largest land-based biosphere and encircles the globe. Its immense oxygen production literally changes the atmosphere and refreshes the planet. It is this continuous renewal that has shaped Taiga Company's vision to drive similar change in the business world. Taiga Company seeks to be the "oxygen for your business".



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