Handbook of Sustainable Innovation
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Handbook of Sustainable Innovation

Edited by Frank Boons and Andrew McMeekin

The Handbook of Sustainable Innovation maps the multiple lineages of research and understanding that constitute academic work on how technological change relates to sustainable practices of production and consumption. Leading academics contribute by mapping the general evolution of this academic field, our understanding of sustainable innovation at the firm, user, and systems level, the governance of sustainable innovation, and the methodological approaches used. The Handbook explores the distinctiveness of sustainable innovation and concludes with suggestions for generating future research avenues that exploit the current diversity of work while seeking increased systemic insight.
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Chapter 2: How does innovation sustain ‘sustainable innovation’?

Benoît Godin and Gérald Gaglio

Abstract

Over the last 60 years or so, innovation has become a central cultural value of our society. Innovation is in every discourse: in the media, in policy and in theories. More recently, sustainable innovation gained increased attention among scholars, and among many others. Sustainable innovation is just one ramification among many of a centuries-old concept: innovation. This chapter examines some history of the concept of innovation in order to unearth the characteristics of the concept, then questions the contemporary concept of sustainable innovation. It is documented that the concept of sustainable innovation has two dominant meanings. One is anchored within the challenges of sustainable development: sustainable innovation is defined as ‘innovations that have a superior ecological performance’. The other is a sustainable business. Sustainable innovation is a lasting innovation in a competitive economy that allows a company to make ongoing profits and that has the potential for a firm to renew and repeat its marketing of new products.

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