Successful innovation is closely aligned with mega-trends that shape the global economy. One such trend is the rise of the conscious consumer. To put it plainly, the social contract between companies and society has changed. Associated with different concepts such as corporate social responsibility, sustainability, corporate citizenship, and conscious capitalism it means that companies are held accountable by values other than shareholder value maximization. Concerns about environmental impact, animal welfare, labor conditions, and many more have joined customer experience or functionality has key drivers of purchasing decisions. Consumers increasingly express their identity and value orientation through their consumption decision. These developments can create great opportunities, but also substantial risk. Amplified by an ever-faster-moving global news cycle, the rise of social media and the emergence of globally operating NGOs and social activists, the balance of power has shifted from companies to customers and other stakeholders. Transparency is increasingly in demand, and companies and regulators are forced to respond ever more quickly to this scrutiny.
This transformational shift requires business leaders to adopt a new mind-set that views such trends as catalysts for innovation rather than threats to existing business models. This dynamic session by Provost Diermeier will use case studies, cutting-edge concepts and engaging examples of how firms successfully navigate this most pressing question of navigating innovation in the 21st Century.