Article by Jens Martin Skibsted and Rasmus Bech Hansen illustrates why “sustainability” is just not the right goal:

Over-Innovation Makes U.S. Firms Suck At Sustainability  The same forces that drive U.S. companies to become the greatest innovators are the ones that make them the biggest environmental sinners. 

Skibsted and Hansen argue we need to standardize and to focus on adding non-material “value” (Starbucks as example – doesn’t it rely on stuff to create their interior design and never-ending combinations of ingredients in silly-named concoctions?)  Preferably no more new stuff and there’s only a small number of “stuff” you can buy.    They argue American innovation and constant stream of new products is what makes us the least sustainable society.

I agree that our consumption rates are absurd.  Certainly having only a few standard products (Beetles everyone?) will cut back on consumption.  Not clear who gets to decide what gets to be made.  The old Soviet planning committee worked soooooo well.

They are wrong. The only way we will find “greener” solutions is by pushing the envelope of technologies and testing what works – using innovation and the market introduction and subsequent acceptance/rejection/modification of new products.  (Of course, we need to be smart in the design - aka use life cycle thinking.)   Maybe they want to go back to the Stone Age of subsistence living.  (Utopia?)  Or wait for America to invent products for Europe.

Give me a thriving future, not a bleak standardized one.  That's why I don't see sustainability as an endpoint. See my last blog.

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