Responsible Innovation Framework

Capitalise on, while mitigating the unintended consequences of innovation. Learn more about the six principles of responsible innovation.

This Responsible Innovation Framework aims to help innovators identify and mitigate potential
unintended consequences, while capitalising on “innovation for good” opportunities.

Background to responsible innovation

Digital transformation and shifting market forces are driving a rapid and ever-increasing pace of change in industry. This will only be further accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses of every sector and geography are innovating to stay ahead, or even stay afloat.

Agility and “lean” governance are central themes of this innovation, but risk exposing companies to unintended consequences that damage their communities, workforce, environment and reputation. In recent months, for example, we have seen AI perpetuate and accelerate society’s biases, people excluded by a lack of access or
skill, technology damaging people’s wellbeing and a harmful backlash against high environmental
impact services.

No business wants to deliberately innovate irresponsibly. However, our research shows that most companies rely on a “best endeavours” approach to responsibility. Rarely do innovation teams have the knowledge, processes or training in place to ensure that they identify and mitigate these unintended consequences.

The business case for responsible innovation is clear. In this framework, Business in the Community (BITC) has developed and piloted a responsible innovation methodology with input from leading businesses.

The six principles

Responsible innovation, regardless of scale, source and technology, balances responsibility and purpose,
with pace and agility.

This is driven by the six principles of responsible innovation:

  • Purpose-led
  • Stakeholder centricity
  • Inclusive collaboration
  • Risk mitigation and opportunity spotting
  • Through-life impact
  • Transparency

BITC and digital

In order to understand and define the role of responsible business in this digital era, BITC with the support of the Digital Champions Network, combines thought with action to set a new agenda for UK businesses.

We ask that businesses commit to four priorities, to ensure a sustainable, ethical and inclusive digital revolution that serves all:

  • Protect, support and empower customers
  • Embrace the changing nature of work
  • Deliver services that serve society
  • Drive a transparent, inclusive and productive value chain.

Read more about BITC’s digital agenda.

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