Responsible innovation for a better society: a roadmap for companies
New technologies like nanotechnology, synthetic biology, internet of things, robotics, artificial intelligence, and autonomous vehicles have an increasing impact on our everyday life, our society, and the environment. This means that companies have to innovate responsibly and include societal values – such as privacy, safety, sustainability, fair distribution of risks and benefits and inclusiveness – in the development strategy of innovative products. This is known as ‘Responsible Research and Innovation’ (RRI).
Jointly with companies, the EU-funded project PRISMA – led by TU Delft – has developed a new methodology (‘RRI Roadmap’), a set of RRI-Key Performance Indicators, a toolkit and an online professional education course for the implementation of RRI by industry. The methodology is aligned with existing standards and policies on risk and innovation management, and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), such as the standards ISO 26000, ISO 9001, ISO 31000 or ISO 56000.
The RRI roadmap helps companies to develop safe and societally and environmentally responsible products. It helps companies to grow their business, attract the best talent, and meet the demands of investors. The RRI Roadmap assists them in identifying the most significant ethical, legal and societal impacts of innovative products. It also helps companies to integrate this in their Cooperative Social Responsibility and innovation strategies policies, and to build trust.
The roadmap has also been used to launch the development of a ‘ pre-standard consensus document at EU level’ (also known as ‘CEN CWA’). The CWA will last until the end of 2019 and is open to all interested parties.
The six-steps methodology (figure) to design the RRI Roadmap is based on a set of acknowledged RRI principles:
- Reflection and anticipation: analysis of ethical, legal and social impacts
- Inclusiveness: stakeholder engagement
- Responsiveness: monitoring, learning and adaptive mechanisms to address societal values
Outcomes of the PRISMA experience, in a nutshell
- Guidelines to Innovate Responsibly (executive brief; full version)
- RRI-Key Performance Indicators
- CEN Workshop Agreement (documents and registration)
Case studies and testimonials:
- Report: responsible innovation in practice: experiences from industry
- Report: the PRISMA company pilot roadmaps
- The pilot experience: testimonials and videos
- The stakeholder dialogues experiences
Professional training and tools:
The PRISMA project has conducted pilot studies with eight companies in order to help them to better integrate RRI in their innovation process and business practices and to align this with their CSR-policies. In addition, consultations took place with a wide range of other stakeholders from research, industry, policy makers, civil society organizations and standardization bodies. These have resulted in best practices on RRI and a systematic way to implement it (roadmap/pre-standard).
The consortium for the PRISMA project (funded by the EU as part of the H2020 program, GA Nr. 710059) consists of five universities and research institutes, and a national standard body (as associated partner):
- Delft University of Technology (TUD)
- Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM)
- Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
- Italian Association for Industrial Research (AIRI)
- University of Warwick
- Italian Standardization Body (UNI)