In the 21st Century, innovation has become THE buzz word in every policy and management forum, and a main or complementary research topic in almost every discipline. Innovation is the generation of new ideas, services, systems and processes. It is a broad and flexible enough concept that anyone can relate to positively. However, implementing new or innovative approaches in institutional contexts is easier said than done, as people naturally resist change, especially when innovation requires changing behavior.

Innovation is important for sustainability as new ideas foster better solutions and improvements in existing systems. There have already been many technological innovations for sustainability, such as the development of renewable energy technologies. However, achieving sustainable development will also require many social innovations, where communities and institutions find new creative solutions to tackle social and environmental challenges.