Co-creating innovation for sustainability


This contribution to the journal Gruppe. Interaktion. Organisation. (GIO) presents a case study for an approach to design sustainable innovation. No nation is on track to achieve the UN sustainable development goals for 2030. The traditional innovation ecosystem is insufficient. Rather than only solving problems, technological innovation is creating new challenges that society is struggling with. Innovation needs to be developed differently to focus on impact.

Geneva Macro Labs initiated a new approach to foster sustainable innovation which was based on a combination of systems theory, collective intelligence, agile development and design thinking. The initiative, called Geneva impACTs, brought together a diverse group of experts, start-ups and investors to develop innovative projects, aiming to make inroads towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals 2030. It started at a time when COVID-19 measures made it impossible for groups to meet in person and so the entire process was conducted virtually using a range of online tools.

A critical reflection shows the methodological strengths of the Geneva impACTs approach and identifies suggestions for improvement to be considered for future iterations. As an overall result, this new methodology is highly conducive to impact innovation.


Aleksandra Berditchevskaia

Principal Researcher, Collective Intelligence @ Nesta

Paul Taffinder

Founder & Managing Partner @ Taffinder Consulting