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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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

Mosaic Enabling Public to Invest in Renewable Energy on U.S. Military Base, Starting at $25

Mosaic, America's first online marketplace to offer solar investments to the public, presents the first major U.S. military solar project to be funded by the public. This is a historic opportunity for Americans to invest in the nation's energy independence and troop preparedness. Launched Friday, investors large and small in the state of California can now put their dollars to work investing in solar panels on military housing.

Nest Wants to Be the Hub of the Connected Home

A company that makes a “smart” thermostat wants developers to hack together your connected home. Nest, “The Learning Thermostat,” last week announced a new developer program and Web API that will connect Nest with other items in your home such as lighting, home appliances and home automation.

Bombas Socks' One-for-One Model Helping to Warm Feet — and Hearts

New York-based startup Bombas Socks is poised to revolutionize the sock industry while spreading its message of pushing yourself to “Bee Better.”Two years ago, after learning that socks are the more requested clothing item at homeless shelters, founders David Heath and Randy Goldberg decided to create a company based on the TOMS shoes plan: One for One.Not only did Heath and Goldberg plan that for every pair of socks sold, they would donate one to a person in need, they knew that they needed to create the perfect sock. With all the new designs in the apparel industry in the past couple of decades, socks have pretty much stayed the same; they are more or less an afterthought. Heath and Goldberg worked to create a sock to “look better, feel better and perform better.”

California Start-Up Creates Self-Filtering Water Bottle

A Southern California-based start-up called Evo Eau says it has created a reusable water bottle that filters up to 99 percent of contaminants from municipally supplied tap water.The bottle is engineered for everyday use and does more than many of its mainstream competitors in terms of filtering out contaminants and harmful carcinogens such as Chromium 6 in tap water, Evo Eau claims.The start-up says that many filtering water bottles only conform to NSF42 standards, which only asks for filters to remove 50 percent of chlorine from water. Many do not even conform to these standards and bottled water companies are held to even fewer.

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BlueAvocado’s New Collection of Upcycled Accessories Provides Jobs for Female War Survivors

When we launched our business in Texas nearly five years ago, our vision was to empower millions of people to reduce their carbon footprint, invest in the dreams and journeys of female entrepreneurs, and create an impact that inspires action. We came together in 2008 as sisters and friend and started our mission-based business, BlueAvocado.Today, we are thrilled to have a variety of eco-collections for food-on-the-go, travel and beauty that can be found at The Container Store, Whole Foods, Target, JC Penney and numerous online retailers.However, a key part of our original vision was to have a made-in-the-USA line, which at the time of our launch (and the height of the recession) was simply too great a challenge.

Three Freshly Sprouted Startups on the NYC Local Food Scene

While the most hospitable territory for food startups is certainly California, New York is host to its own burgeoning food movement. We spoke with three startups, in different stages of warming up to the New York food scene, that combine their expertise in the digital space with a passion for food. Striving to make local and nutritious food more accessible, they are sparking consumer demand for local food in ways not seen in a century.Collectively, Good Eggs, Farmigo and Urbavour aim to disrupt certain themes in American food production and consumption. In place of the current system, these startups propose:

So Crafty: New Belgium Shows How Sustainable Brand Innovation Can Be a Business Driver

It makes sense that an alliance of craft breweries continues to speak out for the Clean Water Act — you can’t make great beer without great water. But what is it about the culture of craft breweries that makes them see sustainability as an innovation imperative? We asked one of the pioneers in the field, Jenn Vervier, New Belgium Brewing’s Director of Strategic Planning and Sustainability.

Back to the Start with Back to the Roots

In their last semester at UC Berkeley, Alejandro Velez and Nikhil Arora were inspired by a class lecture about the possibilities of growing mushrooms using entirely recycled coffee grounds. The perfect representation of turning waste into wages, after various experimentations the pair founded Back to the Roots in 2009. We caught up with Nikhil to learn more about the company’s business model and its newest offering, a tabletop aquaponic farm.

Veuve Clicquot Innovates for More Sustainable Packaging

This video reveals the development process behind Veuve Clicquot's new potato starch packaging - not only is it 100% biodegradable but it's also isothermal, keeping your champagne cool for up to two hours without refrigeration.

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