Friday, October 02, 2015

#SustainableInnovation and the next generation innovator

Elaborating on the UNDP Social Good Summit Presentation (, we need to act to bring nature back into harmony with us humans. The world is in a decline due to our unsustainable use of it's resources. No one will take action unless we as individuals foster the right thinking and action in our homes, companies and public orgs. Corporates are stuck in their microcosms of competition to deliver pure profit/shareholder value. What is the point of turning in a profit/shareholder value, if you end up with a destroyed world where that value means so much less. Innovators have a key role to play to help connect the dots and disrupt unsustainable processes and technology with sustainable alternatives that creates multiplies in the supply chain. Innovators are often too passionate about technology that they forget to think about the big picture of the impact that that innovation will have on the world. Innovation = #SustainableInnovation is the new way we should think as scientists, inventors and innovators.

Here how to identify unsustainable process and technologies that you can disrupt with sustainable innovation. Often this also results in costs savings to the bottomline as well, but it should not have to:

  • What is the waste the business process produces? How much can that amount to in a year? What new tech can be applied to reduce wastage? ( e.g. Can we have more just in time approaches) 
  • Can the waste of one business process be recycled for another process also saving resource costs? (e.g biofuel created by waste) 
  • How much energy saving does applying technology Y provide against previous technology X. TCO should always factor energy used. (e.g. Moving from physical server machines to the cloud) 
  • How much no-renewable raw material is needed to create energy for the business process (e.g. can we add solar?) 
  • What if the product/service line becomes tremendously successful? Can you sustain growth sustainably? How can you create economies of scale such that the resource impact is better than linear? 
Become a Next Generation Innovator, become a #SustainableInnovator, or your generation will not have a world to enjoy your success. It is up to you.

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About Author

Chamindra de Silva has been working in the ICT industry for 20 years and he is presently a VP, Engineering working on FinTech/Banking based in London. After the Asian Tsunami in 2004 he got involved in Open Source source software, where it was applied for humanitarian response and lead the Sahana Disaster Management project that has been deployed to support disaster response around the world and won this Sri Lanka n innovation many international awards. He continues to be a Director on the Board of the Sahana Foundation. He is a graduate of Oxford University with a degree in Engineering and Computer Science.