Library Element Report

Principles for Responsible Innovation. Building trust and trustworthiness in business innovation

Uploaded by RRI Tools on 01 November 2015
Last modified on 02 April 2019

MATTER (2015), Principles for Responsible Innovation Building trust and trustworthiness in business innovation


What are the Principles for Responsible Innovation for?

New technologies and innovations potentially provide great opportunities to help solve some of the big problems of our age and may also bring with them new challenges. How to stimulate the good and minimise the bad is an ongoing debate. 

With these Principles we would like to help stimulate a ‘race to the top’ mentality to inspire companies to think in more transformative ways about the ways they innovate whilst also considering more carefully the positive and negative impacts of the fruits of their labours. 

Our aims are to:

  • Generate positive momentum for transformative innovation for social good.
  • Create shared expectations to help build trustworthiness & confidence

What does Responsible Innovation mean?

The term is new, so defini)ons are evolving. We have decided not to make a one-line defini)on, but consider what it might encompass instead. We propose that it includes the following - a descrip)on which is relevant for all stakeholders:
  1. The deliberate focus of research & the products of innovation to achieve a social or environmental benefit.
  2. Which assesses and effectively priortises the social, ethical and environmental impacts, risks and opportunities, both now and in the future, alongside the technical and commercial.
  3. Involves the consistent, ongoing involvement of society, from beginning to end of the innovation process, including the public & non-governmental groups, who are themselves mindful of the public good.
  4. Where oversight mechanisms are beFer able to anticipate and manage problems and opportunities and which are also able to adapt and respond effectively to changing knowledge and circumstances.
  5. Where openness and transparency are an integral component of the research and innovation process.
  • Principle One - Innovation for social benefit. The organisation designs its innovations to deliver social, ethical and environmental benefits, in addition to commercial goals
  • Principle TwoBoard leadership. The Board takes a leadership role in championing Responsible Innovation and has accountability for developing & managing its innovation strategy & associated responsibilities
  • Principle Three – Consideration of social, ethical & environmental impacts. The organisation considers and is responsive to the wider social, ethical and environmental implications and impacts of its innovations - working alone or with others where appropriate
  • Principle FourExcellent public health, safety & environmental risk management. ​The organisation carries out thorough, technology specific, risk assessment & minimises any potential public health, safety or environmental risks relating to its products. It also considers the public health, safety & environmental risks throughout the product lifecycle
  • Principle FiveExcellent worker health and safety. The organisation ensures high standards of technology-specific occupational health & safety. It also considers occupational health & safety issues for workers at others stages in the product lifecycle.
  • Principle SixInvolving commercial partners. The organisation engages proactively, openly & co-operatively with business partners up & down the supply chain to provide appropriate information & safety data throughout the supply chain.
  • Principle Seven Stakeholder involvement. The organisation identifies its innovation stakeholders, including the general public, proactively engages with them, involving them in the innovation process & is responsive to their views & concerns
  • Principle Eight‘Radical Transparency’ and disclosure. The organisation is innovative and daring in its approach to transparency and openness. In particular it is open about its involvement with & management of specific technologies or areas of innovation
(The report includes a section devoted to each of the 8 principles - with more in depth explanations, questions to consider, testimonies and examples of how to apply each principle)
Beginner , Practitioner

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