Advertisement

The Emerging Concept of Responsible Innovation. Three Reasons Why It Is Questionable and Calls for a Radical Transformation of the Concept of Innovation

  • Vincent Blok
  • Pieter LemmensEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

In this chapter, we challenge the presupposed concept of innovation in the responsible innovation literature. As a first step, we raise several questions with regard to the possibility of ‘responsible’ innovation and point at several difficulties which undermine the supposedly responsible character of innovation processes, based on an analysis of the input, throughput and output of innovation processes. It becomes clear that the practical applicability of the concept of responsible innovation is highly problematic and that a more thorough inquiry of the concept is required. As a second step, we analyze the concept of innovation which is self-evidently presupposed in current literature on responsible innovation. It becomes clear that innovation is self-evidently seen as (1) technological innovation, (2) is primarily perceived from an economic perspective, (3) is inherently good and (4) presupposes a symmetry between moral agents and moral addressees. By challenging this narrow and uncritical concept of innovation, we contribute to a second round of theorizing about the concept and provide a research agenda for future research in order to enhance a less naïve concept of responsible innovation.

Keywords

Responsible innovation Responsible research and innovation Innovation management Science and technology studies Engineering ethics 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This article owes much to the inspiring discussions about RRI that the authors were fortunate to have with Henk van den Belt.

References

  1. Batie, S.S. 2008. Wicked problems and applied economics. American Journal of Agricultural Economics 5: 1176–1191.Google Scholar
  2. Blok, V. 2013. The power of speech acts: reflections on a performative concept of ethical oaths in economics and business. Review of Social Economy 71(2): 187–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Blok, V. 2014. Look who’s talking: Responsible innovation, the paradox of dialogue and the voice of the other in communication and negotiation processes. Journal of Responsible Innovation 1(2): 171–190. doi: 10.1080/23299460.2014.924239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blok, V., Hoffmans, L., and Wubben, E. 2015. Stakeholder engagement for responsible innovation in the private sector: Critical issues and management practices in the dutch food industry. Journal of Chain and Network Sciences.Google Scholar
  5. Bos, J., V. Blok, and R. van Tulder. 2013. From confrontation to partnership. The role of a Dutch non-governmental organisation in co-creating a market to address the issue of animal welfare. International Food and Agribusiness Management Review 16(A): 69–75.Google Scholar
  6. Bryson, J.M., B.C. Crosby, and M. Middleton Stone. 2006. The design and implementation of cross-sector collaborations: Propositions from the literature. Public Management Review 66: 44–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chesbrough, H.W. 2003. Open innovation: The new imperative for creating and profiting from technology. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.Google Scholar
  8. Collingridge, D. 1981. The social control of technology. Palgrave: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  9. Correljé, A., E. Cuppen, M. Dignum, U. Pesch, and B. Taebi. 2015. Responsible innovation in energy projects: Values in the design of technologies, institutions and stakeholder interactions. In Responsible innovation, volume 2: Concepts, approaches, and applications, ed. B.J. Koops, I. Oosterlaken, J. van den Hoven, H.A. Romijn, and T.E. Swierstra. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  10. Davies, S.R., M. Horst. 2015. Responsible innovation in the US, UK and Denmark: governance landscapes. In Responsible innovation, volume 2: Concepts, approaches, and applications, ed. B.J. Koops, I. Oosterlaken, J. van den Hoven, H.A. Romijn, and T.E. Swierstra. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  11. Delgado, A., K.L. Kjølberg, and F. Wickson. 2010. Public engagement coming of age: From theory to practice in STS encounters with nanotechnology. Public Understanding of Science 20(6): 826–845.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. DeMartino, G.F. 2013. Professional ethics, codes and oaths: What’s appropriate for economics? Review of Social Economy 71(2): 166–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dutta, D.K., and M.M. Crossan. 2005. The nature of entrepreneurial opportunities: Understanding the process using the 4I organizational learning framework. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice 29: 425–449.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. European Commission. 2008. Recommendation on ‘A code of conduct for responsible nanosciences and nanotechnologies research. Brussels.Google Scholar
  15. European Commission. 2011. Horizon 2020—The framework programme for research and innovation. Brussels.Google Scholar
  16. Eweje, G. 2007. Strategic partnerships between MNEs and civil society: The post Wssd perspectives. Sustainable Development 15(1): 15–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Flipse, S.M. 2012. Enhancing socially responsible innovation in industry. Practical use for considerations of social and ethical aspects in industrial life science & technology. Delft.Google Scholar
  18. Godin, B. 2009. Innovation: The history of a category. Working paper.Google Scholar
  19. Gulati, R. 2007. Managing network resources: Alliances, affiliations, and other relational assets. Oxford: Oxford UP.Google Scholar
  20. Habermas, J. 1990. Moral consciousness and communicative action. Cambridge: MIT press.Google Scholar
  21. Habermas, J. 1993. Justification and application remarks on discourse ethics. Cambridge: MIT press.Google Scholar
  22. Hardy, C., T.B. Lawrence, and D. Grant. 2005. Discourse and collaboration: The role of conversations and collective identity. Academy of Management Review 30(1): 58–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hemmati, M. 2002. Multi-stakeholder processes for governance and sustainability. Beyond deadlock and conflict. Earthscan: London.Google Scholar
  24. Hens, L., and B. Nath. 2003. Managing to collaborate: The theory and practice of collaborative advantage. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  25. Huesemann, M., and J. Hueseman. 2011. TechNoFix. Why technology won’t save us or the environment. Gabriola Island: New Society Publishers.Google Scholar
  26. Ireland, R.D., M.A. Hitt, and D. Vadyanath. 2002. Alliance management as a source of competitive advantage. Journal of Management 28(3): 413–446.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Iyer, E. 2003. Theory of alliances: Partnership and partner characteristics. Journal of Nonprofit & Public Sector Marketing 11(1): 41–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Jackson, R., F. Barbagallo, and H. Haste. 2005. Strengths of public dialogue on science-related issues. Critical Review of International Social & Political Philosophy 8(3): 349–358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kaptein, M., and R. van Tulder. 2003. Toward effective stakeholder dialogue. Business and Society Review 108(2): 203–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kirzner, I. 1973. Competition and entrepreneurship. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  31. Koops, B.J. 2015. The concepts, approaches, and applications of responsible innovation; an introduction. In Responsible innovation, volume 2: Concepts, approaches, and applications, ed. B.J. Koops, I Oosterlaken, J van den Hoven, H.A. Romijn, and T.E. Swierstra. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  32. Kreuter, M.W., C. de Rosa, E.H. Howze, and G.T. Baldwin. 2004. Understanding wicked problems: A key to advancing environmental health promotion. Health, Education, and Behavior 31: 441–454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kroesen, J.O., R. Darson, D.J. Ndegwah. 2015. Capacities, development and responsible innovation. In Responsible innovation, volume 2: concepts, approaches, and applications, ed. B.J. Koops, I Oosterlaken, J van den Hoven, H.A. Romijn and T.E. Swierstra. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  34. Mackin, G. 2011. The aporia of practical reason: Reflections on what it means to pay due respect to others. Contemporary Political Theory 10(1): 58–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Macleod, C. 1988. Inventing the industrial revolution: The english patent system, 1660–1800. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Matter. 2011. A report on responsible research & innovation. Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/research/science-society/document_library/pdf_06/rri-report-hilary-sutcliffe_en.pdf.
  37. McMullen, J.S., and D.A. Shepard. 2006. Entrepreneurial action and the role of uncertainty in the theory of the entrepreneur. The Academy of Management Review 31(1): 132–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Millar, C., Y. Udalov, and H. Millar. 2012. The ethical dilemma of information asymmetry in innovation: Reputation, investors and noise in the innovation channel. Creativity and Innovation Management 21(2): 224–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Milne, G.R., E.S. Iyer, and S. Gooding-Williams. 1996. Environmental organization alliance relationships within and across nonprofit, business, and government sectors. Journal of Public Policy and Marketing 15(2): 203–215.Google Scholar
  40. Mortensen, D.A., J.F. Egan, B.D. Maxwell, M.R. Ryan, and R.G. Smith. 2012. Navigating a critical juncture for sustainable weed management. BioScience 62(1): 75–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). 2012. Responsible innovation research program. Available at: http://www.responsible-innovation.nl/conference/conf11/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=24&Itemid=34.
  42. Nowotny, H. 2008. Insatiable curiosity: Innovation in a fragile future. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  43. Owen, D. 2012. The conundrum. New York: Riverhead Books.Google Scholar
  44. Owen, R., and N. Goldberg. 2010. Responsible innovation: A pilot study with the U.K. engineering and physical sciences research council. Risk Analysis 30(11): 1699–1707.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Ozdemir, V., S.A. Faraj, and B.M. Knoppers. 2011. Steering vaccinomics innovations with anticipatory governance and participatory foresight. OMICS: A Journal of Integrative Biology 15(9): 637–646.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Penders, B., J.M.A. Verbakel, and A. Neis. 2009. The social study of corporate science: A research manifesto. Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society 29(6): 439–446.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Rammert, W. 1997. Innovation im Netz. Neue Zeiten für Innovation: heterogen verteilt und interaktiv vernetzt. Soziale Welt 48(4): 394–416.Google Scholar
  48. Rittel, H.W.J., and M.M. Webber. 1973. Dilemmas in a general theory of planning. Policy Sciences 4: 155–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Roelofsen, A., W.P.C. Boon, R.R. Kloet, and J.E.W. Broerse. 2011. Stakeholder interaction within research consortia on emerging technologies: Learning how and what? Research Policy 40(3): 341–354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Rogers-Hayden, T., and N. Pidgeon. 2007. Moving engagement upstream? Nanotechnologies and the royal society and royal academy of engineering’s inquiry. Public Understanding of Science 16(3): 345–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. von Schomberg, R. 2013. A vision of responsible research and innovation. In Responsible innovation, ed. R. Owen, M. Heintz, and J. Bessant. London: Wiley.Google Scholar
  52. Schumpeter, J.A. 1943. Capitalism, socialism & democracy. London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  53. Selsky, J.W., and B. Parker. 2005. Cross-sector partnerships to address social issues: Challenges to theory and practice. Journal of Management 31(6): 849–873.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Technology Strategy Board. 2012. Responsible innovation framework for commercialization of research findings. http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20130221185318/www.innovateuk.org/_assets/responsible_innovation.pdf.
  55. Van Huijstee, M.M., M. Francken, and P. Leroy. 2007. Partnerships for sustainable development: A review of current literature. Environmental Sciences 4(2): 75–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Vanloqueren, G., and P.V. Baret. 2009. How agricultural research systems shape a technological regime that develops genetic engineering but locks out agroecological innovations. Research Policy 38(6): 971–983.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Yaziji, M., and J. Doh. 2009. NGOs and corporations: Conflict and collaboration. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Management Studies Group, School of Social SciencesWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Philosophy and Science StudiesRadboud UniversityNijmegenThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations