According to PwC’s 17th Annual Global CEO Survey, survey, released in January, US CEOs are banking on new product and service innovation. Thirty-six percent of US CEOs say it’s their main opportunity for growth in 2014. And innovation continues to be a competitive necessity for all companies, regardless of sector or geography. Resource scarcity and climate change are strategic issues that present risks to businesses, and savvy companies are turning their attention toward the other side of the spectrum – the opportunities to meet customer needs by driving sustainable innovation.
The fact that sustainability can stimulate innovation is not new. In our 14th annual survey a few years ago, 64% of CEOs said environmentally friendly products and services were an important part of their innovation strategy. So what’s changed, since then? Companies are starting to think much bigger. Earlier this month, best-selling author and green business strategy expert Andrew Winston provided the opening keynote at PwC’s Exchange conference where 200 executives from leading US companies gathered to discuss innovative ideas in a think tank environment. Winston provided examples from his newly released book, The Big Pivot: Radically Practical Strategies for a Hotter, Scarcer, More Open World. He made the case that tackling the world’s mega-challenges is a practical path forward to drive innovation and create tremendous business value. To capitalize on the opportunities, Winston says companies need to practice “heretical thinking” and challenge their business models.
At PwC, we are helping our clients navigate the megatrends transforming the business landscape and the disruptive business models companies are developing to create value in this new environment. We’re also staying close to how companies are innovating. We believe that climate change and resource scarcity, present an opportunity for companies to innovate and differentiate, and prove to the world that business can solve macro problems – and do so profitably.