This Week in Sustainability: Week of March 12

| Josh Henretig

As we wrote last week, big data represents a huge opportunity to improve environmental sustainability outcomes, and the evidence for that keeps mounting up. In the run-up to the Structure: Data conference hosted by GigaOm next week, GigaOm looks at ten case studies illustrating how the promise of big data is changing the world. From reports looking into how data can predict the next Lady Gaga to how the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is working to create a complete electronic health record for patients, it’s clear that the potential for big data stretches far and wide. For Microsoft, we took a step forward this week by adopting CarbonSystems’ Enterprise Sustainability Platform (ESP) to harness the power of big data to help us improve our reporting processes, and make publishing our environmental impact to organizations like the Carbon Disclosure Project easier.

Meanwhile, Fast Company’s CoExist posted the transcript of an interview with Economist correspondent Vijay Vaitheeswaran, who’s latest book, “Need, Speed and Greed: How the Rules of Innovation Can Transform Businesses, Propel Nations to Greatness and Tame the World’s Most Wicked Problems,” argues that the world is in the midst of an innovation revolution. Comparing today’s innovation to past initiatives like the Apollo lunar mission, Vaitheeswaran argues that yesterday’s top-down innovation, which was successful for a single mission like Apollo, is less relevant today when “we need a markets-entrepreneurs-consumers-business model.” As a large company that believes in the power of bottom-up innovation, Vaitheeswaran makes a compelling case that entrepreneurs, consumers and business together have an important role to play in driving the innovations needed to create a more sustainable planet.

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