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Project: I4S - Innovation for Sustainability (Leuphana University Lüneburg)

Timeframe: 1.1.2013 - 31.12.2016

Academic Lead: Prof. Dr. Stefan Schaltegger and Prof. Dr. Erik G. Hansen

Project Manager: Samuel Wicki, MSc

Abstract:
I4S (Innovation for Sustainability) is a project funded by the European Union in support of its strategic commitment to 'smart, sustainable and inclusive growth'. Under the leadership of The Academy of Business in Society (EABIS), Leuphana University together with seven leading universities (Copenhagen Business School, Nyenrode Business Universiteit, University of Exeter, University of Manchester, Erasmus University Rotterdam, University of Cape Town and Vlerick Leuven Ghent Management School) and their corporate partners collaborate to study sustainability-driven innovation (SDI) - which is understood as innovation not only directed at economic gains but also at positive ecological and social effects. Preliminary research and prospective studies suggest that SDI involves management competences and organisational capabilities rarely found in traditional business-led, technology-driven innovation. The project's primary aim is thus to research how companies manage the transformation of business processes and business models related to SDI as a multi-actor process. These management practices will be studied by individual researchers embedded with associated partners engaged in SDI.

The I4S project is funded by the EU's 7th Framework Programme under the "Marie Curie Action: Initial Training Networks" scheme aimed at both increasing attractiveness of research careers for early stage researchers and adding to their employability through exposure to both academia and enterprises. The research program is accompanied by network training events and site visits at various partner locations during the whole project, allowing to develop more generic knowledge about the barriers and obstacles to innovation across sectors.

The research task at CSM - "Driving sustainability innovation from the upstream value chain"
The research task of the Centre for Sustainability Management (CSM) at Leuphana University of Lüneburg is to enable, support and analyse a sustainability-driven innovation processes with the double aim of advancing knowledge and transforming practice. This task is conducted in close collaboration with the partner company SIEB & MEYER AG, an engineering company and innovation leader supplying various industries (including renewable energy technology industry). While innovation is often focused on incremental process and product innovations, in this project the aim is to explore more radical innovation options by tapping into "future markets" with significant sustainability potential. One potential market to explore will be small-scale wind turbines.

The project builds on the expectations that SDI can only successfully be advanced through multi-actor processes. Hence, one task is to design and facilitate a collaborative innovation process involving not only internal stakeholders (e.g. management, R&D) but also important external players (e.g. customers, technology and environmental experts; professional associations, NGOs). Through methods such as business development workshops, design thinking, participative product development and other creativity tools - and with the support of third-party facilitators - we will co-explore future trajectories and management approaches towards sustainability.

Partners:
- SIEB&MEYER AG, Lüneburg, Germany
- Academy of Business in Society (ABIS), Brussels, Belgium

Further information:
- EU Project Website
- Case Study Report
- Project information at Leuphana University