Track 4.f Introduction: Strategic Design of Sustainable Business Models
Keywords:Strategic Design, Sustainable Business Models
Concerns about the societal and environmental impact of how companies operate have generated increasing interest in more sustainable ways of doing business (Porter & Kramer, 2011). Research and practice from the past decade show that a Sustainable Business Model Innovation lens is suitable to embed sustainability into firms’ objectives and operations (Bocken et al., 2014; Schaltegger, Lüdeke-Freund, & Hansen, 2012). Consequently, Sustainable Business Model Innovation has been emerging rapidly as a research field (Lüdeke-Freund & Dembek, 2017). Recent developments in this field build upon seminal work on Design for Sustainability from the past two decades to establish a connection with Strategic Design (Baldassarre et al., 2019; Geissdoerfer et al., 2016; Manzini, 1999; Tukker, 2004). Strategic Design is a research stream that studies how to leverage the discipline of Design in the context of Strategy and Innovation Management (Calabretta et al., 2016; Karpen, Gemser, & Calabretta, 2017). More specifically, it focuses on the application of design practices, principles and methods to the formulation and implementation of innovation strategies that benefit people and organizations alike (Calabretta et al., 2016). The connection between Sustainable Business Model Innovation and Strategic Design is mainly supported by the argument that the strategic and experimental nature of design enables the integration of stakeholders’ objectives including sustainability concerns, while also providing the process dimension needed to move away from theory towards concrete practice and tangible impact (Baldassarre et al., 2017; Bocken, Schuit, & Kraaijenhagen, 2018). However, research on the role and contribution of Strategic Design to Sustainable Business Modeling is still in its infancy. Consequently, within this track of the 2019 edition of the Academy for Design Innovation Management Conference, we collected four research contributions at the intersection between Strategic Design and Sustainable Business Model Innovation. These contributions are summarized in the paragraphs below, followed by a reflection on all of them and potential directions for future research.