Edited by Frank Boons and Andrew McMeekin
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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