Product, Service & Design Innovation

The latest products, services, design approaches and business models that are helping organizations of all sizes deliver on their sustainability ambitions and establish a new business as usual.

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Uber Spreading Holiday Cheer with Christmas Tree Delivery

International on-demand car-service app Uber has announced a partnership with Home Depot to deliver Christmas trees to residents in 10 US cities. With a bit of luck, good timing and holiday magic, Uber will deliver a live tree to your doorstep today for $135, according to its blog.What to do:

Scrappy Start-Ups Finding New Options for Crowdfunding

Ryan Kushner and his wife, Amanda Ravenhill, launched their non-profit start-up, Hero Hatchery, whose mission is to “wake society up to the imminent threat of climate change, and illuminate the possibility it holds as a call to reinvent current unhealthy systems,” in October. They hope to raise $30,000 for the world’s first crowdfunded fellowship to support a climate-change activist who will bring out the climate change hero in us all and work to ensure climate change maintains its relevancy in the cultural zeitgeist.

BBMG-SHFT Partnership Helping Brands Engage Savvy, Values-Driven Consumers

Last month, brand innovation consultancy BBMG and sustainable-lifestyle platform SHFT announced they are joining forces on a new branded content offering for organizations aiming to reach and engage Aspirational consumers, a fast-growing consumer segment that cares about looking good, feeling good and doing good.Combining BBMG’s consumer insights and brand-building expertise with SHFT’s creative and production capacity and the SHFT.com lifestyle platform, the partnership offers a new approach to developing and delivering original branded content designed to disrupt and delight.

Beyond the Manifesto: Holstee's Mike Radparvar on the Company's Reframe

Holstee’s mission has always been to encourage more mindful living, whether that meant enabling consumers to proclaim their principles boldly on a graphic poster or to purchase with a purpose. Originally finding its niche in apparel and then in poster design, Holstee has again pivoted, this time landing in fine art with the launch of the Reclaimed Frame project — a subscription service that sends subscribers new prints every month to be rotated in and out of a frame made of wood from Detroit’s 78,000 abandoned structures.

Back to the Roots, Revolution Foods Team Up to 'Grow Food, Give Food' to U.S. Schools

Oakland, Calif., start-up Back to the Roots (BTTR), which has made a name for itself with its DIY mushroom kits and new “AquaFarm” home aquaponics system, has taken another step in fulfilling its commitment to “making food personal again.” Through a new joint campaign with healthy school-lunch provider Revolution Foods, the two like-minded organizations are furthering both of their missions to educate and inspire children about healthy food.

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Social Enterprise Uses Baskets to Build Schools, Empower Women in West Africa

A social enterprise called Jjangde is tackling two of the largest problems in West Africa — lack of access to education and employment — by connecting handmade goods from rural communities in Senegal to global markets, and using the profits to fund schools in the communities where the goods were made.With a test run of baskets, Jjangde says it was able to fund a summer program that gave 300 students extra support for the upcoming school year. The company also fully funded one year of school for 110 students and developed an exchange program to strengthen the relationship between high schools in Senegal and the United States.

New Social Network Helps Community Projects Find 'neighbourly' Corporate Sponsors

Each week leading up to our SB London conference, where the winner of the SB London Innovation Open (SBIOL) will be announced on November 18, we will get to know each of our four finalists. This week, meet neighbourly.com.

GravityLight: A People- and Planet-Friendly Bright Spot for Many Without Electricity

Each week leading up to our SB London conference, where the winner of the SB London Innovation Open (SBIOL) will be announced on November 18, we will get to know each of our four finalists. This week, meet GravityLight.UK-based social enterprise Deciwatt is certainly living up to its goal of “doing more with less”: The company is capitalizing on the intangible but powerful natural phenomenon, gravity, to produce light for those who need it most.

TOMS Shoes Creates Home for Imitators with New TOMS Marketplace

TOMS Shoes, which has helped provide shoes for children in need around the worldwide with its One for One® model, helped spearhead the burgeoning movement of social entrepreneurs creating similar business models based on addressing a problem while making a profit.But instead of admonishing or suing his growing contingent of imitators, TOMS founder and chief shoe giver Blake Mycoskie has applauded them, and now has taken his support one step further with the launch today of the new TOMS Marketplace.

Walk on the Wild In-side: How Social Intrapreneurs are Disrupting the System from Within

Lou Reed was a rock-n-roll pioneer. While he may not have achieved many solo hits, he accomplished what all sustainability professionals seek: He shifted the system. Brian Eno famously said, ‘The Velvet Underground may have sold only 10,000 records but everyone who bought one formed a band. In David Bowie, Reed had his biggest fan.’With his passing last month, stories about his contributions to music abound. The world of music loves to celebrate its pioneers. The disruptors. The misfits who took music to a new level.

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Amp: One-Stop Shopping for Sustainability Resources

Santa Monica-based startup Amp is an open-access directory for professionals and students in the sustainability sector to connect and find resources that support their efforts to drive social and environmental progress.According to co-founder Sarah McKinney, “It’s like Yelp for sustainability resources… a place where people can share, rate and review the links, media, and documents they’re using to inform and amplify their work.”

Yellow Leaf Hammocks: Enriching Lives East and West

What started out as a backpacking tour through Southeast Asia in Spring 2010 serendipitously turned into an entrepreneurial venture for San Francisco-based Boston native Joe Demin. One morning, while his friends dozed on the sands of the coast of Northern Thailand, Demin ventured through a nearby jungle on a bike and literally stumbled across a small wooden shop selling artisanal hammocks by a local hunter-gatherer community, the Mlabri. Visiting with this rural community, he learned of their story and struggle for economic independence and immediately wanted to help. As Demin explains, ‘I literally sketched out a business plan on the back of the plane’s airsick bag.’

Liberty & Justice for All: How Africa Is Challenging Fast Fashion's 'Race to the Bottom'

Chid Liberty was born in Liberia, his father the nation’s ambassador to Germany — where Chid grew up before his family was exiled and moved to Silicon Valley. After 28 years abroad, Chid returned to Liberia in 2009 inspired by the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Liberian Women’s Peace Movement and founded Liberty & Justice with social entrepreneur Adam Butlein.

Business Model Innovation

Choosing the right path to sustainable customer delight is no trivial task. After all, you have to arrive at a business model that delivers on customer expectations and is radical enough to make a dent in pressing sustainability challenges of the day. This channel discusses note-worthy principles, methodologies, processes and tools used in business model innovation around the globe.

Sustainable Brands Innovation Open London Finalists Announced

Sustainable Brands has been running a startup competition for the past 6 years but this is the first time we have run it overseas. Over the past few months we have been searching for the best and brightest new ventures disruptively innovating for a sustainable future.

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Sustainable Startups Finding More Than Cash on Crowdfunding Platforms

When the principals behind Peppermint Energy decided to tap into crowdfunding in 2012 to boost their start-up solar enterprise, they found money, but they also discovered another type of equity.“What became obvious to us is that the type of people who support crowd-funding initiatives can be very helpful to vet out what is, what is not and what should be,” said Chris Maxwell, president of Peppermint. “We used our Kickstarter campaign to get market feedback, to get a bunch of people to tell us whether we are on the right track.”

SHFT and BBMG Join Forces to Create Branded Content Offering

BBMG and SHFT are joining forces to announce a new branded content offering for organizations aiming to reach and engage Aspirational consumers, a fast-growing consumer segment that cares about looking good, feeling good and doing good.Combining BBMG’s consumer insights and brand-building expertise with SHFT’s creative and production capacity and the SHFT.com lifestyle platform, the partnership offers a powerful new approach to developing and delivering original branded content designed to disrupt and delight. The new initiative launches with an impressive roster of clients, including Sprint and Recyclebank.

Target Takes Important Step Toward Sustainable Product Standard

Target today announced an important step toward increasing product transparency, which the company says it hopes will lead to more sustainable and innovative products.

F-Cubed: Poised to Save the World from Pathogens

Chicago start-up F-Cubed, LLC (F3) is helping to stem the recurrence of infectious diseases across the food, health and environmental testing sectors with its disruptive invention — a portable diagnostic device that can analyze raw samples for pathogens in less than an hour.What does that mean?As an example of environmental testing, F3’s innovative analyzer can help swimmers avoid unforeseen illnesses by testing the bacteria levels within bodies of water.

2.5 Billion Aspirational Consumers Mark Shift in Sustainable Consumption

A new global consumer study by BBMG, GlobeScan and SustainAbility confirms the rise of nearly 2.5 billion consumers globally who are uniting style, social status and sustainability values to redefine consumption. According to the report, The 2013 Aspirational Consumer Index, more than one-third of consumers globally (36.4%) identify as Aspirationals, defined by their love of shopping (78%), desire for responsible consumption (92%) and their trust in brands to act in the best interest of society (58%). The study draws from telephone and in-person surveys of 21,492 consumers across 21 international markets conducted in April 2013.

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