Responsible innovation is a process that takes the wider impacts of research and innovation into account. It aims to ensure that unintended negative impacts are avoided, that barriers to dissemination, adoption and diffusion of research and innovation are reduced, and that the positive societal and economic benefits of research and innovation are fully realised.
For researchers, responsible innovation is a process that seeks to promote creativity and opportunities for science and innovation that are socially desirable and undertaken in the public interest. Research has the ability to not only produce understanding, knowledge and value, but also unintended:
- ethical dilemmas
- social transformations
For businesses, responsible innovation is the careful consideration of, and action to address, the potential impacts of introducing to the market, a new:
- business model
Among other things, innovating businesses should consider the impact of innovation on:
- their own company
- their customers and suppliers
- their investors
- wider society and environment
New innovative products, services, processes, and business models are better when the benefits for society, including economic impact, can be realised and any potential downsides avoided.
UK Research and Innovation has a key role in promoting approaches to responsible innovation that will initiate ongoing reflection about the potential ethical and societal implications of the research and innovation we sponsor. It also sets out expectations to encourage our business and academic communities to do likewise.
The public expects us to act responsibly, and responsible innovation creates spaces and processes to explore innovation and its consequences in an open, inclusive and timely way. It goes beyond consideration of ethics, public engagement, risk and regulation.
Innovation is a complex process, involving multiple funders, researchers, businesses, end users (demand), regulators, and a wide range of other interested and affected parties, including the public.