EIRMA Task force on Responsible Innovation

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Get Help with your evolving responsabilities as an innovator

Watch the video - Monica Schoefield outlines the reasons for the Responsible Innovation taskforce and its practical aims here

Busy R&D professionals and innovation managers facing concerns about the work they do will soon be able to turn for guidance to a document being developed by a group of EIRMA members.

Responsible Innovation

The taskforce has been formed to think about emerging issues surrounding innovation, such as how and why we innovate, for whom, and to what end, in the light of increasing concern among the public and policy makers about its impact. 

Why should you care? Monica Schofield, director international cooperation and EU office, TuTech and convenor of the Responsible Innovation taskforce, draws a parallel between the current status of concerns about "responsible innovation" and the emergence of sustainability as an issue for R&D managers in the 1990s. 

For many years, she argues, sustainability was not part of the industrial R&D agenda. Then, in response to rising public concern, R&D managers had to respond rapidly to the introduction of corporate sustainability agendas. The EIRMA taskforce is therefore trying to think through the responsabilities of innovators, so that busy R&D professionals have a document they can turn to for guidance when asked too respond to evolving corporate agendas, or to engage in public debate. 

The Responsible Innovation taskforce was launched at EIRMA's Representatives' Round Table in Brussels in January. The EIRMA Insight based on that meeting reported the rationale for the launch as follows: 

The rise of Open Innovation means that public engagement in the work of research and innovation managers is growing. It will also be increasingly important to take responsability for the outcome of R&D. Accountability is becoming more difficult as fields such as chemical-, bio-, neuro-, and nano-technologies converge in a way that transcends traditional ethics and peer review schemes. And the accelerating pace of new technologies, as well as legislators' ability to set the right framework for their use. 

"We risk otherwise that we lose the trust of society, and may end up with a technologically phobic society ands misconceived regulations that drive innovation elsewhere", said Schofield. 

The core taskforce team met in early April at EIRMA's offices in Brussels to define the scope of the Responsible Innovation document and commit to delivering a first draft at the Annual Conference in June

During that meeting, the taskforce defined the audience for and scope of its guidance document and agreed that it was vital that it provided practical advice and insights that reflect industry's concerns and can shape policy thinking. 

The taskforce also agreed that it should seek practical examples of ethical innovation dilemmas from the membership, expressed as very short case studies. 

The team is now developing the document towards first draft status in time for the Annual Conference in June. If you would like to know more or to get involved, contribute a (very short) case study you can email Monica Schofield here

 

The Practitioner's Guide to Industrial Innovation - Chapter 7: Responsible Innovation

Innovation is vital to the health of our businesses, our economies, and our planet. Without a commitment to develop new products, services and business models, businesses and economies will be unable to retain their positions in increasingly competitive global markets, and societies will lack the tools to tackle challenges such as climate change and ageing populations.

EIRMA developed a special chapter on Responsible Innovation. You can find more information on this page: http://www.eirma.org/responsible-innovation

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