Combat climate change – do open innovation methods help?
Dr. Marlen Arnold, Germany
Meanwhile a multiplicity of enterprises accepts the challenge of climate change and develops various solutions and activities to combat climate change or at least to mitigate its risks. Open innovation methods such as stakeholder dialogues, (open) innovation workshops, ideas competition, web-communities and tool-kits can enable companies to find new and sustainable solutions and activities to combat climate change.
All these methods are special practices to discuss particular and/or structural problems that (can) result from business activities with the relevant consumers or stakeholders and company representatives (1) or at least, companies can pick up new ideas to develop new climate-protecting products or services (2). The possibility to enlarge the knowledge base and to open perspectives in ad-hoc or continuous communication with consumers and stakeholders is a great advantage of open innovation methods for companies. This can open up corporate learning as well as responsible consumption. However, these open innovation methods have a different dialogue orientation and a different level of participation and therefore diverse possibilities to support combating climate change.
This study highlights the strengths and weaknesses of selected open innovation methods to combat climate change on the basis of an empirical analysis of 13 mainly German-based companies. With the help of content analysis the study analyses success factors, limits and special conditions for the realisation of climate-protecting solutions and activities generated by open innovation methods. Moreover, the limits of open innovation methods will be stressed.