Heidi Blankenship; Viktor Kulhavý; Jonas Lagneryd , pp. 62. TEK/avd. för maskinteknik, 2007.
This qualitative action research explores integration of Strategic Sustainable Development (SSD) at Inova business incubator (Karlstad, Sweden). Researchers and incubator agreed that planning with sustainability in mind at a very early stage of company development may have important impacts on future business success and societal welfare.
The objective was to answer how SSD could be integrated into the processes at Inova and how Inova staff’s and entrepreneurs’ understanding of sustainability demonstrably evolve after exposure to SSD.
Apart from general research methods, SSD methods and tools were used with three entrepreneurs and business incubator staff. The Five Level Framework for Planning and Decision-making in complex systems and the Templates for Sustainable Product Development approach were central to the study.
Inova staff and entrepreneurs began to develop; an understanding of business’ dependence on and relationship to broader societal and ecological systems; and an ability to use backcasting from the basic socio-ecological principles of sustainability in business planning. In turn they experienced an increased capacity to identify sustainability related business risks and opportunities.
A new incubation process integrating SSD was created. Although the outcome is specific to Inova, it is general enough for other assistance organizations to gain insight from. In conclusion, SSD should be integrated as early as possible in the business planning of start up companies. Organizations with a mission of assisting entrepreneurs have an important role to play
In further research it is recommended that visionary sustainability leaders are identified and tracked from start up.