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Home > Focus > Responsible Innovation: Business Opportunities and Strategies for Implementation, a Book Review

Responsible Innovation: Business Opportunities and Strategies for Implementation, a Book Review

by Jonathan Hnkins [1], 15 May 2020

Responsible Innovation: Business Opportunities and Strategies for Implementation is a new offering in the SPRINGER BRIEFS IN RESEARCH AND INNOVATION GOVERNANCE [2] series. Edited by Katharina Jarmai, it is available in paper version or as a free download [3], and offers a lot of food for thought for anyone interested in responsible innovation approaches and applications within business.

The series is edited by Doris Schroeder, Centre for Professional Ethics, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, Lancashire, UK and Konstantinos Iatridis, School of Management, University of Bath, Bath, UK, both of whom are well known names in the RI field.

The primary (but not pure) focus is on small and medium enterprises (SME's) as the contributions collected in the book are a result of work conducted by partner organizations in the European funded Horizon 2020 project "COMPASS - Evidence and opportunities for responsible innovation in SMEs".

The main perspective taken in the book is one of looking at the overall objectives of RI approaches in order to apply these approaches within real-life situations. The goal for RI is thus described as 'to increase positive societal impact and minimize actual and potential negative impact to the highest degree possible', moving away from the abstract academic definitions and into practice in a turn that is necessary if businesses are to engage with the concept and undertake research and changes aimed at its implementation.

The book contains several case studies and practice examples that allow the analysis of the variety of ways in which RI can be implemented in companies. One of them details the various practices that a nanotechnology company introduced to ensure that all of its research and innovation processes and products exceed the requirements of RI, another demonstrates how a cyber security company relies on the principles of RI to inform their decision-making processes, with leadership and employee motivations seen as drivers in such take-up.

Sustainability-oriented innovation is compared to RI, as is social innovation, with further case studies and examples offered, alongside discussion of the particular positions that small businesses find themselves in in relation to RI and the investment required.

Payback for this investment is described (although the authors are not promising competitive or financial benefits, examples are offered of successful implementation) while implementation drivers and constraints are also discussed. Real life case studies provide examples of reduced costs, reputational gains, employee retention, faster market entry, access to previously unavailable stakeholders, higher acceptability of end products, and higher innovation potential through diverse employees.

The chapters are short, well written and easy to follow. The book is 100 pages long (as are the others in the series) and certainly worth a couple of hours in order to gain an overview of RI in action within business. We would definitely recommend it to our readers and congratulate all the authors and editorial team on its release.


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  1. 1] /schedabiografica/Jonathan Hnkins
  2. 2] https://www.springer.com/series/13811?detailsPage=titles
  3. 3] https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007%2F978-94-024-1720-3
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Responsible Innovation: Business Opportunities and Strategies for Implementation, a Book Review
Articles by:  Jonathan Hnkins
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