P. Lehoux, H.P. Silva, R.R. Oliveira & L. Rivard (2020) The responsible innovation in health tool and the need to reconcile formative and summative ends in RRI tools for business, Journal of Responsible Innovation, 7:3, 646-671, DOI: 10.1080/23299460.2020.1844974
Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) scholars have explored how businesses perceive the goals and processes of RRI and have developed tools to enable entrepreneurs to integrate such principles into their practices. While these tools often adopt a formative approach and may include measurable self-assessment indicators, external assessment approaches have so far received little attention. This study addresses this gap by applying the Responsible Innovation in Health (RIH) Tool, which adopts an external assessment approach, to 16 health innovations from Canada and Brazil. Combining publicly available information sources and interviews, our findings show the extent to which the nine attributes of the Tool are fulfilled and shed light on how entrepreneurs materialize these responsibility considerations. Such an external assessment increases transparency and makes more explicit the responsibility trade-offs entrepreneurs face. In view of the RRI tools available, reconciling formative and summative ends in their development could make RRI's expectations towards businesses more actionable.
This paper is comprised of four sections. First, we provide an overview of the frameworks and tools meant to support the integration of RRI into businesses and introduce the RIH Tool, which relies on nine attributes measured through a four-level scale. Then, we describe the public documents used to apply the RIH Tool and the interviews we conducted with entrepreneurs. Our quantitative findings establish the extent to which the nine attributes are fulfilled and the interviews shed light on how entrepreneurs materialize these responsibility considerations. In view of the RRI tools currently available for businesses, our discussion highlights how an external assessment like the one supported by the RIH Tool increases transparency and can provide entrepreneurs with a concrete set of responsibility trade-offs to consider at an early stage of development. We also argue that reconciling formative and summative ends in the development of RRI tools has the potential to make the field's normative expectations towards businesses more actionable.