How to better incorporate sustainability, responsibility and ethics into innovation processes? In their research, Thomas Long, Vincent Blok and Edurne Inigo consider how responsible management - management that integrates sustainability, responsibility, and ethics - applies to the management of innovation. Given innovation is a critical business and societal function, this gap is problematic.
Long, Blok and Inigo aim to solve this problem, exploring how the concept and practice of ‘responsible innovation’ could provide guidance and inspiration to innovation managers and beyond.
Responsible innovation seeks to solve societal challenges, such as food security or clean efficient transport, while also avoiding possible unforeseen negative impacts. For example, the use of novel sensor technologies, big data and GPS in agriculture can provide benefits for business (more productivity), society (food security) and the environment (lower impacts). Yet these same technologies create socio-ethical issues, potentially enabling the further industrialisation of agriculture, and can involve the collection of large quantities of data, which raises questions linked to data protection, privacy and ownership.
By exploring the application of responsible innovation to management contexts, Long, Blok and Inigo highlight how responsible management of innovation would operate at individual, organisational and systems levels. They also explore the influence of key factors, such as the moral maturity of managers, or the size and age of an organisation.
Long: “This chapter gave us a nice opportunity to explore connections between the increasingly relevant, but previously unconnected concepts of Responsible Management and Responsible Innovation; in doing so, we identified some interesting future questions and important implications for innovation managers.”
The full article ‘Responsible Innovation in Sustainable Entrepreneurial Contexts’ is open access available on the website of ResearchGate.
Dr. Thomas B. Long is Assistant Professor of Sustainable Entrepreneurship at the University of Groningen’s Campus Fryslân Faculty, and a member of the Centre for Sustainable Entrepreneurship. Long’s research interests focus on responsible innovation in contexts of sustainable entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship in heritage areas, and sustainable business models.
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