A Global Resource
Edited by René von Schomberg and Jonathan Hankins
Chapter 32: Responsible innovation in a culture of entrepreneurship: a US perspective
In the emerging global landscape around technology innovation and social transformation, entrepreneurs have the potential to initiate chains of events that have profound impacts on society – a trend that is already apparent within the information technology sector. Yet given the potential dangers of unconstrained entrepreneurialism, there is a need for effective, workable approaches to responsible innovation within the entrepreneurial community. While top-down governance may be effective in creating crude boundaries within which responsible innovation occurs, successful implementation of responsible innovation within the US entrepreneurial community (and, by extension, to other economies) will ultimately depend on the underlying principles of responsible innovation becoming deeply engrained within the very fabric of the community. In their native form, the concepts of anticipation, reflexivity, inclusion and responsiveness do not necessarily lead to responsible innovation in the harsh light of commercial reality. Yet they hold the seeds for the entrepreneurial community to pivot towards a culture that is both successful and responsible. In this chapter, we discuss the social context and nature of the challenge, how the underlying principles of responsible innovation can be integrated into American entrepreneurial culture, and then offer examples of existing community-driven changes in behaviour. We argue that, as entrepreneurs continue to translate cutting-edge science and engineering into highly novel technologies within today’s tightly coupled world, we cannot afford not to build a culture of responsibility that places a premium on societal good – both in the near term and for future generations.
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