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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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.

BBMG's Raphael Bemporad on How Businesses Can Help Drive Transformational Change [Video]

In this interview from the Sustainable Brands 2013 conference in San Diego, BBMG co-founder Raphael Bemporad discusses the need for businesses to engage consumers in ways that will help drive transformational change.To learn how some brands are driving change, check out our #BrandInnovation channel.

Tesla CEO's Plans for ‘Hyperloop’ Transport System Coming in August

Billionaire chairman and CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX visionary Elon Musk says he will release designs next month for a system capable of rapidly transporting people from Los Angeles to San Francisco via a tube in under 30 minutes.In several recent Twitter posts, the real-life Tony Stark has stated he will be “happy to work with the right partners” on the project, called Hyperloop, as long as they share his vision of developing the technology “fast and without wasting money.”Musk says he is welcoming “critical feedback” on the system and will publish his plans by August 12 as open source.

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How Forward-Thinking Brands Are Disrupting and Delighting Through Innovation

Calling all innovators and implementers! Sustainable Brands and BBMG have launched a new Issues in Focus editorial channel examining the most creative, inspiring and disruptive cases of brand innovation.Guest editor Carola Beeney — joined by BBMG founders Raphael Bemporad and Mitch Baranowski and the SB editorial team — is curating a broad selection of articles to help illuminate this emerging paradigm, for publication throughout the year.

Celebrating the Emergence of a New Generation of Business Innovators

When you look at the environmental and social challenges we face, it's often tough to stay optimistic. The worst predictions of climate science are coming true. Resource scarcity — especially water — is a major threat to business and the economy. Worker conditions around the world, like those that led to the unfathomable recent tragedies in Bangladesh, can seem like intractable problems. And the political system that we need to tackle big issues is mostly broken.

Lego Thinking: Key to Futureproofing Your Brand?

Key to futureproofing is creating a brand that fulfills your customers' higher order needs — things such as meaning, authenticity, self-fulfillment and all those other wonderful aspirations at the top of Maslow’s pyramid.But what if your consumer finds him- or herself in flux, discovering a purchase that felt meaningful a short time ago suddenly seems, well, less so today? How can you keep up with this sort of rapidly evolving ‘higher order’ demand?With Lego thinking.

When It Comes to Sustainable Innovation, Corporates Can Learn a Lot from Entrepreneurs

One of the core ideas behind sustainable branding is that, by thinking of social problems as business opportunities, companies can gain a competitive advantage. It follows then that a very important core competency in the quest for sustainable branding is the ability to identify social and environmental opportunities and to turn them into innovative business solutions.In other words, much of sustainable branding is about human-centered innovation and understanding how to continuously create relevance and value in the lives of individuals. This is a field that has advanced significantly in recent years with the increasing prominence of approaches such as design thinking, co-creation and customer development.

Learning How to Share Again [Video]

As toddlers, most of us had to learn how to share against our more basic instincts.

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Consumers Believe Brands Can Have Positive Impact but Are Failing to Do So

For all the talk about how important brands are in people's lives, the evidence points firmly in the other direction.

More Life Now! A Manifesto for Rejuvenative Technology

At a time when authoritative studies highlight our lack of progress on existing environmental goals and the scale of the threats we may face, we need to turn away from incrementalism, from rationing our unsustainability, towards new models of technological and economic innovation.

Engagement and Innovation: Lessons from CLIF Bar's Latest Eco-Challenge

To commemorate Earth Day 2013, Clif Bar’s offices in Emeryville, California, went paperless for one week.

BMW i Poised to Redefine Sustainable Mobility

The BMW brand arguably defines automobile performance, engineering and technology.

New Research Finds UK Consumers Earning and Saving £4.6 Billion Through the Sharing Economy

New research commissioned by The People Who Share shows that 65% of adults in the UK are already part of the sharing economy, and a further 28% would consider taking part, if they don’t already. Conducted by Opinium, The State of the Sharing Economy polled 2,005 adults in the UK to demonstrate the growing consumer appetite for the sharing economy, just in time for Global Sharing Day 2013 on Sunday, June 2nd.

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Run Up to SB '13: Nick Miller on Startups in the Sharing Economy

Nick Miller is the CEO of Parking Panda — a service that enables parking space owners (both individuals and commercial lots) to capitalize on underutilized parking spaces by renting them to a community of drivers. On the flip side, drivers can save time and money by reserving a spot in advance and paying online.

Run Up to SB '13: Neal Gorenflo on the Cultural Shift Around Innovation and the Sharing Economy

Neal Gorenflo is the co-founder of the non-profit Shareable, whose mission is to empower everyone to share for a more joyous, resilient and equitable world. Shareable is best known for its online magazine covering the sharing economy.At Sustainable Brands ’13 (June 3-6), Gorenflo will be moderating and participating in panel discussions focused on entrepreneurial trends and the importance of connecting innovation with purpose. I asked him a few questions about how sharing fits into the picture.

Startup Crowdfunding to Sell Superfood Bars in US to Aid West African Farmers

Oakland-based social enterprise Kuli Kuli is launching an Indiegogo campaign to leverage its “superfood” nutrition bar to help alleviate poverty in West Africa.Kuli Kuli Bars are gluten-free, raw and made with just a few simple all-natural ingredients, the company says. The bars also are low in calories but contain high amounts of fiber, protein and vitamins. The bars are made from moringa oleifera, a tree that has been widely documented for its vast nutritional properties and ability to grow in poor soil with little water.

Groundbreaking Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs

The multitude of social and environmental challenges we face — both locally and globally — presents countless opportunities for new approaches and business models to rise to the fore. All over the world, mission-driven entrepreneurs are bringing fresh, disruptive innovations to market in response to some of these challenges. Here are some of our favorites, each of which represents a different game-changing idea that has the potential to dramatically shift the market, and the world, in which they operate.

Mosaic Crowdsourcing $100 Million in New Solar Projects

Mosaic, an online marketplace that connects investors to solar energy projects, is tackling more and more ambitious projects. Recently, it started the Golden State Series, a string of solar investments that will total $100 million. The first project, seeking a investment $153,000 in a solar charity in San Diego, sold out in just six hours.

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