Green, social and profitable - the role of front end of innovation decision making in achieving more sustainable new products

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In our globalized world, the competitive pressure on organizations to develop more sustainable new products is constantly on the rise because performing higher in terms of sustainability is likely to become "innovation's new frontier". To this end it is important to look at the whole life-cycle of a new product, from its development and production throughout its distribution, usage, repair and end-of-life. Previous research has highlighted the important role of the front end of innovation (FEI) in determining the life-cycle sustainability of a new product, however, without making explicit which options for more sustainability exist and which decisions in the FEI have the claimed impact. This chapter provides an overview of the opportunities that are available in the FEI to make a new product more sustainable according to the triple bottom line (i.e., from an ecological, social and economic perspective) and the FEI decisions that have an impact on these opportunities. In this regard, special attention has been paid to defining the triple bottom line sustainability objectives of new product development. This overview and the objectives are the result of reviewing and combining the existing literature on product innovation, FEI management and sustainable innovation, in line with conducting the first steps of an inductive method of theory-building. Practitioners reading this chapter can use the presented overview to identify opportunities for increasing the sustainability of products under development and to define their sustainability objectives. For scholars, this chapter is meant as a call for future research to tackle the urgent question of how to best make decisions in the FEI to maximize the sustainability of new products according to the triple bottom line and thus as a stepping stone for future theory-building and testing.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationManaging innovation in a global and digital world
Subtitle of host publicationmeeting societal challenges and enhancing competitiveness
EditorsR. Tiwari, S. Buse
Place of PublicationWiesbaden
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-658-27241-8
ISBN (Print)978-3-658-27240-1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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