The unsustainable truth about the stage-gate new product innovation process

Pratima (Tima) Bansal, Sylvia Grewatsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


In this essay, we argue that the conventional, stage-gate, new product innovation process does not support sustainable development. We advocate that companies need to rethink their conventional approach to new product innovation by putting sustainability more at the centre of the process. If companies ever want to develop truly sustainable products, they need to start innovating around societal and environmental grand challenges instead of sales. We argue that the conventional new product innovation process narrow’s a company’s attentional focus on sales and short-termism. However, to foster sustainable development through new product innovations, companies need to spend more time on understanding and formulating the innovation problem originating from a larger environmental and societal context. This requires a creative mindset and thinking on a much wider spatiotemporal innovation scale. We developed this essay based on insights from a research project together with a globally leading innovation company.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-227
Number of pages11
JournalInnovation: Organization and Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • consumer industry
  • new product innovation
  • stage-gate approach
  • Sustainable development

Cite this