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Home > Focus > International Food and Agribusiness Management Review Special Issue: Responsible Innovation in the Agri-food Sector.

International Food and Agribusiness Management Review Special Issue: Responsible Innovation in the Agri-food Sector.

by Redazione FGB [1], 20 June 2018

Wageningen Academic Publishers have just released the International Food and Agribusiness Management Review Special Issue: Responsible Innovation in the Agri-food Sector [2] (on open access). The editorial team includes Vincent Blok and Thomas B. Long, names that regular readers will be familiar with from other posts on this website and articles in the Journal of Responsible innovation (amongst others).

In their editorial Responsible innovation in industry and the importance of customer orientation: introduction to the special issue [3], Vincent Blok, Victor Scholten, and Thomas B. Long describe the current stat of the art in agribusiness before introducing both the concept of responsible innovation and suggesting how it could be effective in this particular field notwithstanding perceived problems in its implementation from a business point of view.

The editorial concludes with a description of the different papers and their positions taken in relation to each other, before calling for the expansion of this type of research within business in general and in particular agribusiness.

Below the articles are linked alongside each abstract. The abstracts are published according to a creative commons license.

Integrating the management of socio-ethical factors into industry innovation: towards a concept of Open Innovation 2.0 [4]
Thomas B. Long and Vincent Blok

Abstract
To create a sustainable future, innovations are needed that integrate socio-ethical issues. Responsible innovation provides a method for managing these issues, and tries to ensure that innovation is conducted for and with society. The application of responsible innovation in industry contexts, where many of these innovations are developed, is limited by challenges related to dominant business logics, stakeholder management problems and resource constraints. Open innovation is an approach more commonly employed within industry contexts, which involves activities that overlap with responsible innovation dimensions and practices. This means that open innovation could represent a way to integrate the management of socio-ethical factors into industry contexts in a less disruptive and costly way. This paper explores the extent to which open innovation and responsible innovation overlap and could be compatible. Both open innovation and responsible innovation are reviewed theoretically before an empirical enquiry is launched through semi-structured interviews (n=11) with entrepreneurs developing innovations in the context of climate-smart agriculture in Europe. We find evidence for compatibility between exploratory open innovation activities and dimensions of responsible innovation. Results indicate that the management of socio-ethical issues through open innovation requires sensitivity to ethical issues and a motivation to include ethical considerations strategically in innovation processes. These findings are incorporated into a provisional extended open innovation model for the management of socio-ethical in industry contexts - an Open Innovation 2.0.

Rewarding responsible innovation when consumers are distant from producers: evidence from New Zealand [5]
Paul Dalziel, Caroline Saunders, Peter Tait, John Saunders, Sini Miller, Meike Guenther, Paul Rutherford and Tim Driver

Abstract
The concept of 'responsible innovation' is the subject of an expanding literature. As Vincent Blok and colleagues have recently analysed, practical issues undermine the adoption of responsible innovation in industry. These issues are intensified for agri-food producers who export a large proportion of their production to distant consumers, as is the situation in New Zealand. Even in this case, however, this study reports evidence that final consumers of agri-food products in five of New Zealand's key export markets value credence attributes produced by responsible innovation and that this has the potential to increase returns to the country's domestic producers. A national movement of New Zealand agribusiness leaders is pursuing this vision, but further research is needed to understand how responsible innovation can operate in global agribusiness value chains.

Competitive advantage through responsible innovation in the New Zealand sheep dairy industry [6]
Nic Lees and Isobel Lees

Abstract
This paper explores the opportunity for New Zealand to establish and sustain an internationally competitive sheep dairy industry. As part of this it evaluates the role of responsible innovation (RI) within the New Zealand sheep dairy (NZSD) industry and whether this can assist in achieving a sustainable competitive advantage. In the context of agrifood supply chains RI has received little attention despite the fact that these industries have significant environmental, ethical and social impacts. The research also addresses the lack of evidence as how to put RI into practice and the claim that the practical applicability of RI is not possible. The French sheep dairy industry was used as a comparative case study for the New Zealand industry. Information was gathered through a literature search, the comparative case study and interviews with New Zealand and French industry experts. Comparisons were made between the strategic capabilities and structural forces of the sheep dairy industries in both France and New Zealand. The study found that for the NZSD industry to achieve a competitive advantage it would need to pursue a differentiation strategy that focused on customer responsiveness, innovation, sustainability and quality. Furthermore, the study identified that RI had the potential to assist the NZSD industry by providing distinctive competencies to develop a competitive advantage. This is because there were existing resources and capabilities that provided a platform for differentiation. There were also strategic and economic drivers in the NZSD industry that encouraged RI as a competitive strategy. This indicated that for RI to occur there needed to be economic incentives that encouraged companies to pursue this strategy.

Considering the consumer in the design of a supply chain of perishables [7]
José F. Jiménez-Guerrero Juan C. Pérez-Mesa , Jerónimo de Burgos-Jiménez and Laura Piedra-Muñoz

Abstract
Customer satisfaction, contrary to a manufacturer based approach, is considered a key factor in the business strategy of many companies and in supply chain management. However, focusing on the consumer requires an analysis of the preference structure, which is something that conditions supply chain strategy. In this work we carry out a customer segmentation of a perishable product in order to identify different profiles, depending on their needs and preferences, which may allow the study of differentiated supply chain strategy. Thus, taking consumer satisfaction, we propose a differentiated supply chain approach depending on the segment which the company intends to address. In parallel and from a theoretical point of view, this approach represents a first step toward introducing the concept of responsible innovation in the study of supply chain management.

Improving market success of animal welfare programs through key stakeholder involvement: heading towards responsible innovation? [8]
Nina Purwins and Birgit Schulze-Ehlers

Abstract
Despite frequent public criticism of modern husbandry practices, many animal welfare programs lack acceptance among both farmers and consumers. We contend that this lock-in originates from a lack of market orientation and consequential neglect of key stakeholders' preferences in program design. Considering the case of a retailer-owned meat brand, we demonstrate the relevance of stakeholders' inclusion when establishing animal welfare programs for pigs. Surveys among 62 farming members of a pig trading cooperative and 692 supermarket customers reveal the heterogeneity of beliefs and acceptance within both groups. While a Responsible Innovation approach, including key actors from the initial criteria selection, could be effective for raising acceptance, it would likely lead to lengthy time-to-market, prohibiting first-mover advantages. We suggest instead that beliefs and acceptance among farmers may be influenced through a communication strategy based on survey results and experimental research, as well as facilitating positive word-of-mouth.

This collection represents a breakthrough in examples of real time application of responsible innovation approaches within business literature and practice, and as such we highly recommend it to our readers.

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  1. 1] /schedabiografica/Redazione FGB
  2. 2] https://www.wageningenacademic.com/toc/ifamr/current
  3. 3] https://www.wageningenacademic.com/doi/abs/10.22434/IFAMR2018.x001
  4. 4] https://www.wageningenacademic.com/doi/abs/10.22434/IFAMR2017.0040
  5. 5] https://www.wageningenacademic.com/doi/pdf/10.22434/IFAMR2017.0012
  6. 6] https://www.wageningenacademic.com/doi/abs/10.22434/IFAMR2017.0013
  7. 7] https://www.wageningenacademic.com/doi/abs/10.22434/IFAMR2017.0019
  8. 8] https://www.wageningenacademic.com/doi/abs/10.22434/IFAMR2017.0047
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International Food and Agribusiness Management Review Special Issue: Responsible Innovation in the Agri-food Sector.
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