Responsible innovation

Origin, attribution and theoretical framework 1

Authored by: Liang Mei , Jin Chen

The Routledge Companion to Innovation Management

Print publication date:  February  2019
Online publication date:  February  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138244719
eBook ISBN: 9781315276670
Adobe ISBN:


 Download Chapter



Against the background of new technological developments and a scientific revolution, while many significant innovations, including the internal combustion engine, atomic energy, information technology, and biomedicine technology are driving development (Owen, Baxter, Maynard, and Depledge, 2009), they are also triggering important thoughts on the duality of technological innovations 2 (Jonas, 1984). The existing scientific innovation policies and management approaches meet difficulties and limitations when dealing with the issues like moral ethics, environmental protection, social value and sustainable development in technological innovations. Controversial cases on innovation involve the social and ethical crisis with genetically modified organisms and genetic engineering (Grove-White, Macnaghten, and Wynne, 2000), the usage norms of emerging technology (Weart, 1976), the global and regional safety hazards of applying nuclear physics and energy (Groueff, 1967), the safety of flu virus research (Kaiser and Moreno, 2012), the privacy leaks with information and communication technology (Eden, Jirotka, and Stahl, 2013), the institutional risk and fraudulent behaviors in the finance sector and its derivatives (Fratzscher and Imbs, 2009), as well as the environmental negative impacts (e.g. pollution from industrial innovations) of technological advances (Fischer, Parry, and Pizer, 2003). All these trigger the attentions on the negative externality of researches and innovations, as well as the reviews of contractual linear model of a scientific society (scientific freedom should be based on the satisfaction of social needs and social values) (Owen, Baxter, Maynard, and Depledge, 2009) on the research and policy level. The European Union (EU)’s “Horizon 2020” framework program proposed responsible innovation, emphasizing that research and innovation must effectively mirror social needs and social expectations, reflect social value and responsibility, and form the social value wished by all EU nations (Owen, Baxter, Maynard, and Depledge, 2012). In order to meet this target, innovation should be morally acceptable, expected by the society, safe and sustainable (Von Schomberg, 2013). In addition, the “2020 Wise Growth” strategy raised two basic questions while stressing innovation-driving development: (1) Are we able to define the appropriate social result and impact of research and innovation? (2) If we endorse a certain innovation, will we succeed in leading innovation towards the direction satisfactory to the society? The research policy thus increased its focus on the integration of society and technology and was devoted to expanding scientific innovation in terms of the integration of society and moral ethics in the core science and engineering R&D fields so as to lead the innovation path towards society’s satisfaction (Rodríguez, Fisher, and Schuurbiers, 2013).

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.