New Storm Session: How can the internet drive innovation for sustainable business?

Innovative, environmentally-conscious, and opinionated customers are urged to submit ideas to IdeaStorm’s latest burning topic: How can the internet drive innovation for sustainable business? Dell has partnered with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to kick off the current Storm Session, which will run through next Sunday, November 13th.

Although the internet’s impact ranges from powering our daily social activities to helping drive economic growth, many of us take it for granted.  The internet, however, requires materials and fuel just like any other growth engine. While the total global impact of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) is not known, the latest data suggests that between 1.1% and 1.5% of all global electricity production is allocated to servers and data centers alone. While its resource consumption is significant, the internet’s potential impact could dramatically outweigh its cost. For example, The Climate Group’s Smart 2020 Report estimates that ICT has the potential to eliminate 15% of the world’s greenhouse emissions by 2020.

The scope of the Storm Session is specifically focused on ICT sustainability within business. We look forward to hearing your ideas on reducing the environmental impacts of ICT equipment and the internet while accelerating our ability to use these technologies to solve global issues. Everyone is invited to participate by following the conversation, submitting ideas, and commenting and voting on others’ suggestions. Dell and EDF staff will study these ideas and use them to drive discussions and actions by our organizations and, hopefully, by yours as well.

Clicking on the image above will take you right to the Storm Session. Scroll down and select the blue post your idea tab. (You are required to log into your IdeaStorm account first before performing any activity–if you don't already have an account, please register for one.) On that page, you will also have the option to view all posted ideas by the community and vote for your favorite ideas. As you’re brainstorming, please consider the following questions:

  • What information do we need to share to spawn new ideas? How should we share it?
  • Who is not engaged that needs to be engaged?
  • What innovative approaches to reducing greenhouse gas emissions can business demonstrate today? How can ICT help?
  • What resources and tools exist but are underutilized or still need to be created?
  • What barriers keep employees and customers from contributing to innovation? How do we overcome them?

This Storm Session will also supplement other sustainability projects, including Pew Center on Global Climate Change’s “Low-Carbon Business Innovation” project and EDF’s Eco-Challenge Series. Results from this brainstorming will be used to define and guide discussion at the Green Innovators in Business Solutions Lab on December 8, 2011 in Cambridge, MA. They will also be summarized and distributed online for others to build upon. We take your suggestions very seriously—for those of you who haven’t seen the latest IdeaStorm update, check out the crowdsourced ideas that we’ve recently implemented.

About the Author: Rene Huynh