The concepts, approaches, and applications of responsible innovation: An introduction

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42 Citations (Scopus)


‘Responsible innovation’ is an increasingly popular term, but it is by no means clear what exactly this term refers to, nor how responsible innovation can or should be approached. This chapter provides an introduction to the landscape of responsible innovation, drawing from the contributions to this volume and an emerging body of literature. First, the concept of responsible innovation is explored: what does ‘responsible innovation’ refer to? The concept can be seen as an ideal, of incorporating social and ethical values or aspects in the innovation process, and as a project, a joint enterprise of an increasingly large community of people who want to bring us closer to this ideal. Next, approaches to responsible innovation are discussed: how can we go about innovating responsibly? While all approaches seem to have in common a key role for stakeholder engagement, one can distinguish two broad types of approaches to make innovation in a certain context more responsible. There is a product approach, characterised by a focus on developing some kind of output—a method, a framework, or guidelines; and a process approach, focused on developing some kind of procedure, usually with an element of self-learning. Subsequently, the current landscape of responsible innovation is briefly sketched: who is doing what in which areas? The chapter ends with explaining the structure of this edited volume and a brief tour through the chapters, which together provide a rich body of work that anticipates, reflects, deliberates, and responds to the challenges of responsible innovation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResponsible innovation 2
Subtitle of host publicationConcepts, approaches, and applications
EditorsBert-Jaap Koops, Ilse Oosterlaken, Henny Romijn, Tsjalling Swierstra, Jeroen van den Hoven
Place of PublicationCham etc.
PublisherSpringer International
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9783319173085
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • responsible research and innovation (RRI)
  • responsible innovation
  • stakeholder engagement
  • reflexive learning
  • product approach
  • process approach
  • definition


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