Department of Business Development and Technology

Social-Ecological Innovation in Purposeful Organizations: Implications & Impacts in an Age of Wicked Challenges

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review

Purpose: This present age is one that is human-made, rather than defined by geologic strata. As such it has come to be called the Anthropocene Age. It is an age fraught with wicked social, ecological, and environmental challenges for which no clear resolutions exist. While many means of warfare for combating wicked challenges may be suggested, our purpose herein is to examine means available in or to organizations. Our motivation for examining organizational “pro-sponses” and responses to wicked challenges is driven by the stature of organizations on the world stage whereon half the world’s largest economies are organizations and half are nations – so that organizational influence, whether for good or bad, can be profound (Fifka and Drabble, 2012).

Approach: Enterprise approaches to business excellence, sustainability, resilience and robustness are examined with special attention dedicated to social-ecological innovation that also delivers positive economic impact. Models for social-ecological innovation (SEI) and sustainable enterprise excellence, resilience and robustness (SEER2) are briefly presented prior to their deeper consideration within organizational contexts and in light of wicked global challenges that span societal, ecological, and economic dimensions.

Findings: Edmund Husserl cited intentionality as central to human consciousness. Most certainly intentionality is equally central to conscious enterprise consideration and combat of wicked global challenges we face – ones that threaten people, planet and profit alike. As such socially equitable, ecologically sensitive, and economically sound enterprise strategy that can be translated into socially responsible, environmentally neutral or positive, and financially profitable performance and impact is a critical weapon of wicked warfare. A clear point is that it is naïve merely to formulate such “triple top line” strategy (McDonough and Braungart, 2002a) with the expectation that corresponding “triple bottom line” performance and impact will as a consequence follow (Elkington, 1997). Instead it is necessary to dedicate necessary resources that will ordinarily include formation and proficien execution of enabling policies, partnerships, practices and processes that transform such strategy into superior triple bottom line performance and impact. Approaches presented herein support strategy translation while simultaneously providing a combination of feedback and foresight able to identify and implement best and next best practices and sources of competitive advantage.

Value: Selected wicked global challenges and enterprise contributions to their resolution are placed squarely in the crosshairs. Tools for advancing such enterprise contributions are presented along with a roadmap for their use. Successful application of these tools hold the potential to render an enterprise sustainable, excellent, resilient, robust and responsible at economic, societal, and ecological levels.
Original languageEnglish
Publication year2015
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventPerformance Management Association Australasia Conference 2015: Beyond Best Practice: Tools for Tomorrow’s Organisation - Auckland University, Auckland, New Zealand
Duration: 2 Feb 20154 Feb 2015


ConferencePerformance Management Association Australasia Conference 2015
LocationAuckland University
CountryNew Zealand

    Research areas

  • Social-Ecological Innovation, Wicked Challenges, Conscious Integration, Purposeful Organization, Enterprise Excellence, Sustainability, Resilience, Robustness

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