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International Handbook on Responsible innovation: Overview part 3

by Jonathan Hankins [1], 10 July 2019

This, the third and final collection of abstracts from the forthcoming International Handbook on Responsible Innovation [2], contains Parts Four and Five: Regional Practices and Interviews.

The regional Practices section offers perspectives from China, India, South East Europe, the USA and Kenya and South Africa. The section raises issues of the locally or regionally embedding of responsibility in innovation, inviting mutual learning between regions and across agendas.


28 Chinese Perspectives on Responsible Innovation

Yandong Zhao and Liao Miao

As a policy concept and practice emerging from the Europe and the US, Responsible Innovation (RI) is a new idea within the Chinese context. Although it has started to appear more frequently in academic literature, RI has not yet become an influential discourse in the policy making process or in public debate in China. However, the ground with certain nutritional elements for RI to seed and grow in China does exist. In recent years RI has been nurtured by a variety of precursory theories and exercises, such as constructive, participatory and real-time technology assessment, ELSI/ELSA research into new and emerging technologies, public engagement and governance of science and technology, risk management and open innovation.
In this chapter, we will at first briefly provide a historical overview of the institutional environment of Chinese science, technology and innovation. Then we will depict the main actors in promoting RI in China respectively. And finally, we will discuss the challenges of RI in China.

Keywords: Responsible Innovation, China, policy making

29 Responsible Innovation: Constructing a Seaport in China

Wang Qian and Yan Ping

The concept of 'Responsible innovation' (RI) has been of growing interest to international academia in recent years. The use of the theory and approach of responsible innovation to conduct research into the construction of ports has both theoretical importance and practical significance in China. This paper aims to analyse the activities of the port of Dalian in terms of responsible innovation, and to argue that the focus on environmental protection and corporate social responsibility of the port are consistent with the underlying ideas of responsible innovation. Through case study methodology, two typical cases of responsible innovation of the port of Dalian are described and analysed. The authors conclude that the implication of responsible innovation in the port of Dalian begins by verifying whether the construction of the port corresponds to the idea of responsible innovation within a government-oriented mode of RI on the basis of the autonomy of the port and the negotiation of multiple stakeholders. Finally, the paper discusses the general significance of this mode of responsible innovation to the construction of ports in China.

Keywords: Responsible innovation, seaport, china

30 Indian Perspectives on Responsible Innovation and Frugal Innovation

Krishna Ravi Srinivas and Poonam Pandey

Frugal Innovation is often presented as the responsible approach for countries facing acute resource constrain and inequalities. It is also seen as a very helpful tool to re-think innovation strategies in the austerity-driven economies of the developed world. This chapter introduces the ideas of innovations promoted by J.C. Kumarappa and A.K.N. Reddy in order to contextualize frugal as well as Responsible Innovation in developing countries such as India. Both Kumarappa and Reddy were inspired by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi) and his vision of Science and Technology for rural context and resource constrained settings. While the former focused on rural industries, the latter chose to work for sustainable solutions to address the energy needs of the rural communities through renewable energy sources. Re-reading their ideas and examining their innovations in light of RI can result in a better understanding of their ideas, enabling us to re-examine them for their contemporary relevance.

Keywords: Responsible innovation, inclusive innovation, India

31 South-East European Perspectives

Norbert Buzás and Miklós Lukovics

Science and innovation are becoming more and more important in the South-East European Countries. Although the topic of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) has gained credibility in the world's scientific thinking and in EU policy over recent years, RRI is a relatively new concept for the transition economies including many countries in South East Europe area. This chapter is mostly based on the results of the FaRInn (Facilitating Responsible Innovation in South East European Countries) project. Starting from an overview of the geographical context, we summarize the most important achievements of the project, demonstrating the challenges facing countries with changing innovation environments. The description includes the results of surveys carried out on the innovation pipeline and examples of pilot actions undertaken to test RRI models. Based on these results, we formulate a proposal for a process of RRI implementation in this region that takes into consideration its specific socio-economic conditions.

Keywords: Responsible innovation, South-East Europe, socio-economic condition

32 Responsible Innovation in a Culture of Entrepreneurship - a US Perspective

Andrew D. Maynard and Elizabeth Garbee

In the emerging global landscape around technology innovation and social transformation, entrepreneurs have the potential to initiate chains of events that have profound impacts on society-a trend that is already clearly apparent within the information technology sector. Yet given the potential dangers of unconstrained entrepreneurialism, there is a need for effective, workable approaches to responsible innovation within the entrepreneurial community. While top-down governance may be effective in creating crude boundaries within which responsible innovation occurs, successful implementation of responsible innovation within the U.S. entrepreneurial community (and by extension, to other economies) will ultimately depend on the underlying principles of responsible innovation becoming deeply engrained within the very fabric of the community. In their native form, the concepts of anticipation, reflexivity, inclusion, and responsiveness do not necessarily lead to responsible innovation in the hard light of commercial reality. Yet they hold the seeds for the entrepreneurial community to-in their word, "pivot"-toward a culture that is at the same time successful and responsible.

In this chapter, we discuss the social context and nature of the challenge, how the underlying principles of responsible innovation can be integrated into American entrepreneurial culture, and present examples of existing community-driven changes in behaviour. We argue that, as entrepreneurs continue to translate cutting edge science and engineering into highly novel technologies within today's tightly coupled world, we cannot afford not to build a culture of responsibility that places a premium on societal good-both in the near term and for future generations.

Keywords: Entrepreneur, value-creation, risk

33 Public Engagement as a Potential Responsible Research and Innovation Tool for Ensuring Inclusive Governance of Biotechnology Innovation in Low and Middle Income Countries

Pamela Andanda

Public engagement (PE), commonly understood as the inclusion of citizens in governing science, is one of the keys to responsible research and innovation (RRI) framework that has been developed by the European Commission for purposes of ensuring the participation of all societal actors in the research and innovation process. Ensuring inclusive innovation, which meets the needs of marginalised communities, is at the heart of PE. While PE is mostly viewed as an element of deliberative democracy and a tool for RRI, concerns have been raised that a predominantly top-down approach is used in PE. Accordingly, there is a need to shift the focus of PE from creating awareness to effectively engaging with and even collaborating with the public in the innovation process.

This chapter examines the extent to which the policies and practices that are currently used to foster PE in the biotechnology sector in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) sufficiently address the inclusion, demands and needs of those at the Bottom-of-the-Pyramid.

Using two countries from Africa as case studies, it discusses the extent to which PE strategies in Kenya and South Africa have engaged the public in a manner that meets the envisaged attributes of PE as an RRI tool. An assessment of the two countries' strategies is undertaken by considering the following fundamental questions: Is engagement used in a manner that allows contestation thus avoiding a top-down approach where scientists and policy makers lead the process? Does engagement effectively consider and incorporate the public's contributions in the deliberative process thus leading to inclusive innovation? By delving into these questions, the chapter considers the suitability or otherwise of PE as an RRI tool for ensuring inclusive governance approach to biotechnology innovation in LMICs based on lessons that are drawn from the two countries.

Keywords: Responsible innovation, public engagement, South Africa, Kenya

The handbook closes with three interviews with prominent representatives from within the practitioner field of RI.

Our very own President Piero Bassetti speaks to Manchester Metropolitan University Professor and long-time friend of the Foundation Sally Randles, Robert Madelin, ex-Director General and advisor on innovation for the European Commission speaks to Jan Staman and René von Schomberg and Rob van Leen, Chief Innovation Officer, Head of DSM Innovation Center and Member of the Executive Committee of DSM speaks to Jan Staman.

5. Interviews

34. Interview with Piero Bassetti, President of Fondazione Giannino Bassetti

Sally Randles

Piero Bassetti has been a central figure in the development of the concept of responsible innovation. Since its creation in 1999, the Bassetti Foundation of which he is President has been promoting the idea that innovation carries responsibility, playing a fundamental role in the spread and uptake of this idea. Bassetti describes the reasoning and practicalities behind this mission, the influence of his personal political position and the Bassetti Foundation's industrial roots that led it into problematizing innovation.

Keywords: Bassetti Foundation, textiles, politics, responsibility, artisanship

35. Interview with Robert Madelin, ex-Director General and Advisor on Innovation (European Commission)

Jan Staman and René von Schomberg

Robert Madelin is interviewed in his capacity as senior advisor on innovation for the European Commission. He has also served the European Commission as Director-General of the Directorates-General of Health and Consumer Affairs and Communications Networks, Content and Technology, respectively. The conversation addresses the role of public authorities such as the European Commission in advancing innovation in a responsible way. He advocates a more deliberative form of governance for the innovation process.

Keywords: responsible innovation, European Commission, deliberative society

36. Interview with Rob van Leen, Chief Innovation Officer, Head of DSM Innovation Center and member of the Executive Committee of DSM

Jan Staman

This interview is with Dr Rob van Leen, Chief Innovation Officer, Head of the DSM Innovation Center and member of the Executive Committee of DSM, a global purpose-led, science-based company in nutrition, health and sustainable living. The interview focuses on the roles multinational companies such as DSM can play in responsible innovation. Rob van Leen explains that the company's policy on responsible innovation goes far beyond the means of a marketing strategy and concerns the substance of the quality of innovation affecting people and the planet. DSM employs the triple P principle, focusing not only on profit but also on people and the planet. Accordingly, DSM employs indicators to track their innovations.

Keywords: responsible research and innovation, DSM, triple P

The International Handbook on Responsible Innovation [3] is currently available for pre-order and will be on full relaese later in the month in both hardback and download versions. Further details of launch events will follow.


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  1. 1] /schedabiografica/Jonathan Hankins
  2. 2] https://www.fondazionebassetti.org/tags/The%20International%20Handbook%20on%20Responsible%20Innovation
  3. 3] https://www.e-elgar.com/shop/international-handbook-on-responsible-innovation
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International Handbook on Responsible innovation: Overview part 2
Articles by:  Jonathan Hankins
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