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EXAMPLE CASE STUDY

INNOVATION AND
SUSTAINABILITY
Background

An  organization  concerned  with  sustainability  is  conducting  research  wants  to  find  out  more  about  how  
much  effort  is  put  in  being  innovative  in  their  region.  Therefore,  they  use  an  inquiry  that  can  tell  them  
about  efforts  regarding  innovation  as  well  as  can  provide  them  concrete  stories  of  what  happened.  The  
organization  decides  to  test  the  inquiry  on  a  variety  of  large-­‐scale  organizations.    

Inquiry  

1. Could  you  share  a  story  about  a  time  your  organization  tried  to  incorporate  an  innovative  idea  into  
their  way  of  working?  What  was  the  idea  and  what  happened?    

a.  The  idea  described  in  your  story  was:  

Very  unsuccessful Very  successful  

b.  If  it  was  successful,  in  what  stage  of  implementation  is  this  idea  now?         N/A  

The  effort  is  in  its  initiation   The  idea  is  already  
stage   implemented  

c.  How  difficult  was  it  to  implement  this  idea?                                    N/A  

No  obstacles  at  all There  are  too  many  obstacles  


for  the  idea  to  be  implemented  

d.  How  did  this  idea  tackle  the  issue  it  intended  to  address?  

This  idea  was  disruptive  to  the   This  idea  was  insufficient  to  
process  of  addressing  this   address  this  issue
issue  

 
 
e. How  sustainable  do  you  think  this  idea  (if  implemented)  is?    

Not  at  all Very  much  

f. How  does  this  idea  make  you  feel?  Select  no  more  than  2.  
o Happy  
o Hopeful  
o Inspired  
o Indifferent  
o Connected  
o Disappointed  
o Frustrated  
o Angry  
o Powerless  
o Alone  
o Other…  
 
2. In  your  organization,  innovative  ideas  are  mainly  stimulated  by:    
 
Please  drag  into  the  picture  who  you  think  stimulates  innovative  ideas  within  your  organization,  
the  closer  to  the  middle  the  more  they  stimulate  innovative  ideas.    
 
 
Senior   Ground  staff  
 
  management     Designers    
 
Middle   Sustainability  
 
management   experts    
  Consumers      
 
3. Your  organization’s  attitude  towards  innovation  can  best  be  described  as:    

Indifferent United    

Divided  
 
 
 
 
 
 
4. People  in  your  organization  who  care  about  innovation  are  from…  

2    
Top  level Middle  level  

Lower  level  
 
 
 
5. I  think  my  organization  has  the  capacity  to  deal  with  innovative  ideas:  

Requiring  further  attention Very  developed  


 
6. Gender    
• Male    
• Female    
7. Age    
• <12  years  
• 12  –  18  years  
• 18  –  29  years  
• 30  –  44  years  
• 45  –  59  years  
• >60  years  
 
8. Which  sector  of  the  company:  
• Sector  A    
• Sector  B    
• Sector  C    
• Sector  D    
• Sector  E    

3    
ANALYSIS

After   conducting   the   inquiries,   we   can   look   at   the   stories   and   analyse   them.   We   will   discuss   the   questions  
that  yielded  significant  and  relevant  results.    

The  following  image  shows  a  combination  of  whether  the  idea  was  successful  or  unsuccessful  and  the  
feelings  respondents  attached  to  their  story.  Whereas  it  might  not  be  surprising  that  people  who  told  
successful  stories  are  inspired  and  hopeful  and  people  who  told  unsuccessful  stories  would  be  frustrated,  
it  is  interesting  that  there  are  people  who  told  successful  stories  but  said  to  be  disappointed,  this  could  
point  to  an  opportunity  for  growth  where  a  story  about  a  successful  idea  was  told  but  was  not  followed  up  
upon.  Also,  the  green  ball  close  to  the  unsuccessful  part  of  the  spectrum  shows  people  who  told  an  
unsuccessful  story  and  feel  inspired,  targeting  these  people  and  reading  their  individual  stories  would  be  
helpful  in  terms  of  realising  the  change  they  see  possible.  They  are  the  bringers  of  change.    

The  idea  described  in  your  story  was:    

  Very  unsuccessful Very  successful  

1. How  does  this  idea  make  you  feel?  Select  no  more  than  2.  
-­‐ Happy  
-­‐ Hopeful  
-­‐ Inspired  
-­‐ Indifferent  
-­‐ Disappointed  
-­‐ Frustrated  
-­‐ Powerless  
-­‐ Other…  

For  example,  the  question  about  which  people  in  your  organization  who  care  about  innovation  are  from  
yields  the  following  picture.  From  this  picture  it  becomes  clear  that  according  to  these  respondents  the  
lower  level  and  the  top  level  are  seen  to  care  more  about  innovation.  This  could  point  to  issues  with  the  
middle  level  capacities  for  innovation  and  is  worthy  of  further  research,  for  example  by  reading  those  
stories  that  do  relate  to  the  middle  level.    

 
  Top  level Middle  level  

 
Lower  level  
 

4    
If  we  combine  the  question  on  obstacles,  capacity  to  deal  with  innovative  ideas  and  the  classifier  question  
on  the  sectors  of  the  company  we  can  an  image  that  looks  like  this.  We  can  see  here  that  the  two  questions  
on  obstacles  and  capacity  are  correlated  as  they  almost  present  a  line  in  this  plot.  It  is  also  possible  to  see  
that  Sector  E  sees  their  organization  as  very  developed  in  terms  of  innovation  capacity  and  does  not  see  a  
lot  of  obstacles.  On  the  other  side  of  the  spectrum,  Sectors  B  and  C  do  see  a  lot  of  obstacles  and  state  that  
their  organizations  require  further  attention  in  terms  of  innovation  capacity.    

I  think  my  organization  has  the  capacity  to  deal  with  innovative  ideas  on  horizontal  line  (x-­‐
axis)  and  How  difficult  was  it  to  implement  this  idea?    On  y-­‐axis    
 
 
  No  obstacles  at  all
 
 
 
 
 
 
Requiring  further  attention Very  developed  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
There  are  too  many  obstacles  
Which  sector  of  the  company:  
for  the  idea  to  be  implemented  

• Sector  A    
• Sector  B    
• Sector  C    
• Sector  D    
• Sector  E    

For  the  question  regarding  who  stimulates  innovative  ideas  in  your  organization,  the  software  calculated  
the  distance  from  the  center  to  each  point  and  found  that  the  respondents  on  average  perceived  
sustainability  experts  and  consumers  to  be  the  most  stimulating  for  innovation.  On  the  other  hand,  middle  
management  and  ground  staff  had  the  highest  distance  from  the  centre.      

 
 
 
  Designers    
  Sustainability  
  Consumers     experts  
  Middle   Ground  staff      
 
  Middle  
management   Senior  
management  
 

   

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