Issue: April 2018, Exnovation – Actively managing change


Better a fresh horse ...

Introduction by Michael Sailer, CEO, Oeko-Institut

Handlooms, leaded fuel, cassette recorders, incandescent lightbulbs – a glance back at the last 100 years of industrial history shows that out-of-date technologies have been replaced by new ones time and time again. Today, we call this “exnovation”, but it is not a new phenomenon: industrial societies have always evolved in this way, constantly reinventing themselves and their technological bases. From an environmental and sustainability perspective, a key issue for us here at the Oeko-Institut is to play an active role in shaping exnovation processes, both present and future. When the time comes to change existing technologies, it is vital to choose the right – the environmental – pathway early on, to replace climate-damaging with sustainable technologies, and to develop economically viable concepts that have good prospects of becoming established. My personal view is that by clinging to outmoded technologies, it is very easy to fall behind. Take Nokia: at one time, it was one of the world’s leading mobile phone manufacturers, but it failed to capitalise on the smartphone trend. To use a figure of speech, it is better to switch to a fresh horse than ride the old one to death. This issue of eco@work shows how we can embrace exnovation – and explains why phasing out climate-damaging electricity production from coal is a good example.

I hope you enjoy this issue of eco@work and send you best wishes from the Oeko-Institut.


Michael Sailer
CEO, Oeko-Institut

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