Harnessing the crowd to promote sustainable innovation

MIT's crowds and climate conference discussed the crowd's power to champion sustainability – but is the market ready?

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Sarah Shemkus, Guardian

Hundreds of academics, activists, scientists, municipal leaders, and businesspeople gathered at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology last week to discuss ways to harness a different kind of sustainable resource: the crowd.

The three-day Crowds and Climate Conference took on topics from urban adaptation to climate change and scaling renewable energy production to strategies for shaping public opinion and the role of big data. How to capture the energy, knowledge, and passion of the crowd was the consistent theme.


The speakers were consistently optimistic about the potential for crowd-based practices in boosting sustainable businesses. But barriers remain. In some cases, organizations may not ready for such a radical shift in their conventional practices, said Harvard Business School professor Karim Lakhani. Furthermore, the market may simply not be ready for some of the ideas generated by the crowd-sourcing process, Evans said, "If there isn't market pull for that innovation, it's not going to have an impact."

Read the full article here.