A Framework for Responsible Innovation in the Business Context: Lessons from Responsible-, Social- and Sustainable Innovation

Lubberink, R.J.B.; Blok, V.; Ophem, J.A.C. van; Omta, S.W.F.


While the concept of Responsible Innovation is increasingly common among researchers and policy makers, it is still unknown what it means in a business context. This study aims to identify which aspects of Responsible Innovation are conceptually similar and dissimilar from social- and sustainable innovation. Our conceptual analysis is based on literature reviews of responsible-, social-, and sustainable innovation. The insights obtained are used for conceptualising Responsible Innovation in a business context. The main conclusion is that Responsible Innovation differs from social- and sustainable innovation as it: (1) also considers possible detrimental implications of innovation, (2) includes a mechanism for responding to uncertainties associated with innovation and (3) achieves a democratic governance of the innovation. However, achieving the latter will not be realistic in a business context. The results of this study are relevant for researchers, managers and policy makers who are interested in responsible innovation in the business context