Logo della Fondazione Giannino Bassetti


Innovation is the ability to achieve the improbable

Intestazione stampa


Temi in evidenza, a cura della Redazione

Home > Focus > Journal of Responsible Innovation, Volume 9, Issue 2

Journal of Responsible Innovation, Volume 9, Issue 2

by Jonathan Hankins [1], 31 January 2023

As regular readers might imagine, Issue 2 opens with Erik Fisher's Editorial, in this case Responding to difference in and for RI [2]. Fisher identifies the theme of responding to difference in and for responsible innovation as being salient to this issue, described as 'a rich selection of scholarly treatments of difference in the framings, strategies, and values that emerge from studies and engagements with diverse ranges of actors, stakeholders, and discourse coalitions' before moving on to offer an overview of each article.

In Opening up, closing down, or leaving ajar? How applications are used in engaging with publics about gene drive [3] , A. Wendy Russell, Aleksandra Stelmach, Sarah Hartley, Lucy Carter and Sujatha Raman use qualitative research techniques to explore whether public engagement is used to 'open up' or 'close down' opportunities to shape gene drive research. The authors also describe a third position that they call 'leaving ajar', framing their findings within responsible innovation approaches.

The authors argue that engagement strategies around gene drives could be seen as offering a move from closure (obtaining acceptance from society for a form of technological innovation) towards a semi open approach (a discussion of means with a view to steering research within acceptable societal limits).

Amongst a host of other things, in a very interesting section they discuss the packaging of the technology within the global challenges debate, highlighting the golden child of mosquito modification in the fight against malaria, concerns about commercial interests and irreversibility. The authors then go on to describe their three categories of closing down, opening up and leaving ajar, before discussing their findings using quotes from their interviews and what these findings contribute to the fields of responsible innovation, public engagement, and social science research on gene drive.

They conclude that 'pragmatic and open stances on gene drive are creating new opportunities for engagement with societal actors and issues, and requiring new ways of thinking about problems, which may democratise emerging technologies in unforeseen ways'.

Interested readers can learn more about the field from the JRI Road Map to Gene Drives Special Issue available here [4].

The issue continues with 'There is nothing nano-specific here': a reconstruction of the different understandings of responsiveness in responsible nanotechnology innovation [5] in which Anouk Heltzel, J. W. Schuijer, W.L. Willems, F. Kupper and J. E. W. Broerse recount some of their experiences gained through conducting a multi-stakeholder dialogue on responsiveness in nanotechnology innovation.

Their focus is to analyze the meaning of the concept of responsiveness as constructed by different types of stakeholder, resulting in the development of five frames of responsiveness: science and technology, market, expert, network, and society-driven. The article also outlines how the different understandings of responsiveness were negotiated and shaped throughout the dialogue event, during which the authors describe three main strategies for dealing with differences: avoidance, polarization, and reframing.

The frames of responsiveness are described in detail as are conflict management and avoidance strategies, before a discussion of the implications for the project's recommendations to the EU (an overview of which can be found in the annex). A conclusion section follows in which the authors argue that in order to generate a collective meaning of responsiveness with a clear direction, conversations are needed in which fundamental assumptions can be questioned.

The third research article in this issue is From Value Sensitive Design to values absorption - building an instrument to analyze organizational capabilities for value-sensitive innovation [6] from Jilde Garst, Vincent Blok, Léon Jansen and Onno S. W. F. Omta.

In this article the authors describe how they constructed a survey instrument to assess Value-sensitive Absorptive Capacity (VAC), based on previous work by CSR and RI scholars. After an introduction and business management literature review (encompassing societal values and technical knowledge and capabilities for absorbing societal values), they move on their methodology, explaining how the development of the VAC instrument consisted of four steps: (1) sampling a set of firms and collecting their data; (2) developing the survey instrument items for the three capabilities of VAC; (3) assessing the construct validity of the survey instrument; (4) assessing the concurrent validity of the model.

A results section follows followed by a discussion and conclusion and some suggested steps for further development of VOC.

In In pursuit of responsible innovation for precision agriculture technologies [7], Maaz Gardezi, Damilola Tobiloba Adereti, Ryan Stock and Ayorinde Ogunyiola discuss how agricultural decision support systems (DSS) transform agricultural knowledge production, reconfigure labor arrangements and unevenly distribute benefits and burdens among farmers. The authors utilize a responsible innovation (RI) framework to ask the research questions about what the experiences and affectations with DSSs of various food system stakeholders might be.

The authors describe their mixed methods research approach consisting of focus group discussions and a follow-up survey questionnaire of food system actors from Vermont and South Dakota, before offering a broad range of interesting findings regarding bias (towards large farms), social implications in terms of labour and skill sets, propriety exclusions and lack of regulation (amongst others).

The article concludes with recommendations for integrating these findings into future innovation and governance.

Two tribes or more? The historical emergence of discourse coalitions of responsible research and innovation (rri) and Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) [8] from Sally Randles, Elise Tancoigne and Pierre-Benoît Joly follows, bringing a contribution to wider debates and strategic reflections on the past, present and futures of responsible innovation.

Using Scientometrics, the authors map and reconstruct an intellectual genealogy of the new discursive space of both 'responsible research and innovation' (sometimes known as little rri) and Responsible research and Innovation (RRI) through academic literature.

Within the rri corpus the authors find three main strands of research, (1) scientific (mal)practice, responsible conduct of research and ethics (2) management of risk and risk perception and (3) and the sociology of science and technology studies, governance of emerging technologies and responsible innovation.

Within the RRI corpus the texts are grouped according to three fundamental authors that many regularreaders will be familiar with (von Schomberg, Suttcliffe and Owen), and the European Commission. The visuals within the text are clear and underpin the discussion topics and conclusions that follow.

This issue of the journal closes with a discussion paper. In Participatory design: lessons and directions for responsible research and innovation [9], Carolyn Ten Holter compares and discusses the literature and practice of participatory design (PD) and responsible research and innovation in order to discover commonalities and contrast their approaches to challenges found in such 'participatory' methods.

The author argues that PD offers insights into the challenges and benefits of participatory methods that could be used to unpack power differentials and examine the politics in the RRI system, offering the following three recommendations:

(1) A project-management-type structure for RRI, set up in advance with stage-gates, key decisions, and relevant factors documented, could have appeal for practices and methodologies where the use of imagination, reflection and engagement is less well-known than in the social sciences, providing a scaffold for RRI activities. (2) Developing practical participant-identification methods for RRI, such as an iterative stakeholder recruitment framework tailored to different phases of development, similar to the approach described by Pilemalm (2018), could very usefully be adopted by RRI as it continues to formulate working methodologies for use in different fields and along various points in the innovation timeline. (3) The question 'who participates?' is significant in terms of questions of power, and it is here that PD's understanding of the political contexts of innovation is seen most clearly. The explicit concern with dominance patterns could be centralised by RRI to better engage with the democratic principles that are necessarily a part of participatory methodologies.

The Journal of Responsible Innovation [10] once again offers all of the above open access, with all articles downloadable through the links above.


Show/Hide links in this document

Links in this document:

  1. 1] /schedabiografica/Jonathan Hankins
  2. 2] https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23299460.2022.2108557
  3. 3] https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23299460.2022.2042072
  4. 4] https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/tjri20/5/sup1?nav=tocList
  5. 5] https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23299460.2022.2040779
  6. 6] https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23299460.2022.2069994
  7. 7] https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23299460.2022.2071668
  8. 8] https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23299460.2022.2061306
  9. 9] https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23299460.2022.2041801
  10. 10] https://www.tandfonline.com/loi/tjri20
CC Creative Commons - some rights reserved.
Journal of Responsible Innovation, Volume 9, Issue 2
Articles by:  Jonathan Hankins
Search by:
Search video by:

- Mailing list Subscription - Cookies Policy - Privacy Policy -

RSS Feed  Valid XHTML  Diritti d'autore - Creative Commons Gruppo Fondazione Giannino Bassetti in Facebook Gruppo Fondazione Giannino Bassetti in Linkedin Segui la Fondazione Giannino Bassetti in twitter

p.i. 12520270153