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Beyond Sustainability: Innovation, Regenerative Design, and Affection at Blue Hill

Published 15 Apr 2024
Reference 6830
Topic Strategy
Industry Restaurants
Region North America
Length 19 page(s)
Language English

The Blue Hill case follows the journey of Dan Barber, one of the world’s leading chefs. Having understood the limitations of the “substitution” model of sustainability, he redesigns his restaurant as an innovation lab for the food industry, seeking to win stakeholders’ hearts and minds and embed it in the local ecosystem. The case provides an inside view of the innovation process and how, in collaboration with the local ecosystem, Dan reimagines the architecture of the food industry – its economics and operational activities – to create a “regenerative system”, i.e., one that replenishes rather than depletes resources. The principles of regenerative design include (i) redesigning the system from beginning to end, (ii) giving as much, or more, than it takes, (iii) paying attention to interconnectedness, (iv) creating change through awareness, agency, and affection. Although set in the food industry, the lessons apply to all sectors of business.

Teaching objectives

1) Innovation: To illustrate effective innovation processes, show how to lead innovation and create a culture of innovation, and unpack approaches to different types of innovation (e.g., architectural vs. ad hoc innovation) 2) Regenerative design: Replace “substitution” (thinking that substituting one problematic element will suffice) with a template for regenerative design to make fundamental improvements to the health and productivity of the system (with reference to an article by Furr and Furr on regenerative design). 3) Ecosystem: Underscore the relevance of the ecosystem to any business activity; show how to work with the ecosytem to co-innovate.

  • Innovation
  • innovation capability
  • innovation leadership
  • innovation culture
  • sustainability
  • regenerative design
  • ecosystems
  • organization transformation
  • SDG2 Zero Hunger
  • SDG3 Good Health & Well-Being
  • SDG8 Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG11 Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG12 Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG13 Climate Action
  • SDG15 Life on Land
  • Q22024
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