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Tag Archives: Green

Remember our old post on Mika Westerlund and Green Innovation? Since then, some literature has been published and we at Startup Goat are keeping you updated!

More from Mika Westerlund’s fascinating lecture. He went to University of Berkeley in California, in the heart of Silicon Valley to study open innovation. Instead, he found that the hottest topic was Green Innovation as an offshoot of open innovation. 

He describes it from the very captivating lecture: . While Canada is developing tarsands – silicon valley is developing green technology.

For more indepth information:


“Among the market benefits, a key driver has been the increasing demand and prices of natural resources, therefore the greatest impetus for green innovation lies in resource-intensive industries that produce consumer products, chemicals, automobiles. Here, green innovation is not just about “doing good”; a company in a resource-intensive industry simply cannot compete without going green (Haanaes et al., 2012). Indeed, the green mindset can be applied to any aspect of a company, including production processes, lifecycle management, new products and services, and new business models. – See more at:”

To varying degrees, green companies are taking advantage of five key benefits of a focus on sustainability (Kiron et al., 2013):

  1. Market benefits (e.g., brand, competition, new markets)
  2. Financial benefits (e.g., increased margins, reduced costs)
  3. Innovation benefits (e.g., business models and processes, product/service offerings)
  4. Compliance benefits (e.g., reduced waste, lower material costs, adherence to regulations)
  5. Stakeholder benefits (e.g., attracting and retaining talent, stakeholder/investor relations, reduced risk)

– See more at:

Green companies are thriving when the economy is in recession. This is the proposition of Professor Mika Westerlund of Carleton University’s Technology Innovation Management program.


To get to a sustainable business one needs to combine social and environmental entrepreneurship with personal passion, while not neglecting the profits.  A triple bottom line equals a sustainable business!

Sustainability brands are easy to build but also are  easy to hurt if one is not serious about being green. It starts with mindset – after that you will see opportunities and openings in the market.


Data centres are a good example of sustainability producing measurable benefits by reducing power consumption. Same goes for Virgin Atlantic fuel efficiency, coca cola water saving and UPS reduction of left turns.

These are a great example of incremental sustainability, where the business model is not affected. However, as Piet Aarts said, technology innovation should be complemented with commercial innovation.

What will be an innovation game changer in green space? If its incremental and efficiency improving it is easy to copy. However, new companies have a significant advantage starting green.

To enable green value creation one needs to enable culture change in the organization. New business models are needed to enable systemic green change. Startups have the advantage, because they can create their own culture.

There are many challenges growing a sustainable eco-friendly company, like premium price green products, only wealthy can afford, or perceived lack of urgency. Again, culture change is easier for startups rather than large dinosaur companies.


When it comes to intellectual property, a carpet company named Interface gave their trade secrets away, yet they still had the edge. IP protection is not widely used in green innovation. The best IP protection is the slow rate at which the corporate culture changes, since large firms need more time to adapt  to changes in strategy.

How can you be open transparent and green and still be profitable? According to Professor Westerlund, the focus should be on open innovation model with minimum IP protection! If licensing is used then it should be flexible and affordable.


There is increasingly stronger focus on sustainability in business models and business ecosystems, as well as open innovation. This is changing the nature of both innovation and business as we know it, creating the brand new economic and social models for the 21st century.