Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The two "i"'s of business: innovate and integrity

A nifty little report landed on my desk today from Arthur D Little, the consultancy. It has a complex mathematical equation as its title:

Integrity + Innovation = Sustainable Performance.

It caught my eye at first because the opening paragraph of the report states that the growth of the number of companies that have produced a report based on the GRI Guidelines has grown from 20 to 1000 in a 7 year period. It was presented as being an indicator of the growing corporate committement to sustianability. So I read on to discover that "...while this activity is taking off, the familiar competitive pressures of business are not going away. Instead they continue to mount, compelling companies to keep finding new and better ways to deliver the goods and services that socity wants more efficiently and profitably."

ADL's solution for companies is a twofold committment to integrity and innovation. The equation is simple:

INTEGRITY: consistently fulfull stated business principles as an integral part of decision making, rather than managing "CSR" as an additional business activity.

INNOVATION: find successful new ways of value creation in response to the changing needs of markets, societies, and the environment.

The result: sustainable prosperity. They only have anacdotal evidence compiled at this point to try and illustrate the success of this equation, but they outline evidence from successful companies such as Novo Nordisk, BT, and GE - and present these in sharp contrast to those companies that have lost their integrity such as WorldCom, Enron, etc.


Justin Keeble said...


Great to get your initial thoughts on our paper.

We want to see if the whole language around sustainability can be simplified a bit.

Perhaps Integrity and Innovation are the building blocks of what makes a sustainable business?

Integrity isn't just about the trust companies build with their customers and employees etc.. by fulfilling the promises they make, it is also about the way individuals in those companies make decisions.

For us this helps move things forward in a way that the language of corporate responsibility and sustainability hasn't

Innovation introduces the creativity into the equation. How are individuals and the firm making different decisions, finding new ways of working and new sources of value that are inherently more sustainable?

Justin Keeble

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