During the weekend I made some time to keep up to date with the latest news on innovation in Africa. Unfortunately, I didn’t find any news to blog about. However, I´d like to keep this blog up to date, which is why I did a little research on sustainable innovation and its importance for Africa.

I´d like to quote lardbucket.org for a short description of sustainable innovation:

“Sustainability innovation […] couples environmentalism’s protection of natural systems with the notion of business innovation while delivering essential goods and services that serve social goals of human health, equity, and environmental justice. It is the wave of innovation pushing society toward clean technology, the green economy, and clean commerce. It is the combined positive, pragmatic, and optimistic efforts of people around the world to refashion economic development into a process that addresses the fundamental challenges of poverty, environmental justice, and resource scarcity. At the organizational level, the term sustainability innovation applies to product/service and process design as well as company strategy.” (Quote: lardbucket.org)

Why is sustainable innovation so important, especially in developing regions in Africa?

As stated in an article on scidev.net, the importance of sustainable innovation lies in its potential to solve social issues such as hunger, education or human health. It is only by satisfying such elementary needs that further technological innovation can be encouraged. As long as many are suffering from grave health issues and malnutrition, cognitive resources for bottom-up innovation will remain unavailable.

Moreover, sustainable innovation has the potential to enable growth while at the same time preserving important resources. Since resources are an important prerequisite for any kind of growth, they need to be tapped efficiently. At the same time, one must handle existing resources carefully to preserve innovation for future generations. It is only by sticking to these principles that we will see true and sustainable innovation that will benefit the lives of many in the long run.

Sustainable can have many aspects, way beyond the ecology. Is corruption a sustainable business model? Is oppression of freedom of speech sustainable? Is the distribution of incorrect information on competitors sustainable? Maybe this is the stuff for another blog post in the future.

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