Advertisement

Aligning Innovation and Ethics: an Approach to Responsible Innovation Based on Preference Learning

  • Johann Jakob HäußermannEmail author
  • Fabian Schroth
Article

Abstract

New technologies not only contribute greatly to society and the economy; they also involve fundamental societal shifts, challenging our values and ideas about ourselves and the world. With a view to aligning technological change and innovation with ethical values, the concept of responsible innovation advocates the inclusion of a variety of stakeholders, in particular from society. In shifting moral responsibility towards the producers of innovations, responsible innovation rejects the standard normative economic view that the ethical evaluation of innovations is a matter of individual consumers’ market-based choices. However, in this article we argue that responsible innovation should not abandon all normative consideration of the individual outright, to which end we present an alternative normative economic approach based on preference learning. We show how this approach can provide an enhanced understanding of responsible innovation by clarifying the redistribution of moral responsibility and casting individuals in the normative role of co-innovators, rather than mere consumers. We argue that responsible innovation should enable individuals to form preferences and evaluate innovations, so as to align innovation with ethical demands. Finally, we show how our proposed approach can be put into practice in so-called laboratories in real-world contexts, using methods from the field of design. In short, drawing on normative economics, this article aims to establish a new understanding of responsible innovation that is conceptually sound and can form the basis for novel innovation practices.

Keywords

Responsible innovation Normative economics Ethics Innovation Preference learning Laboratories in a real-world context 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This paper was presented at the 13th Philosophy of Management conference, which took place in June 2018 in London. The authors wish to thank the organisers and participants of the conference, in particular the track chairs Vincent Blok and Job Timmermans, for valuable feedback.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

References

  1. Binder, Martin, and Ulrich Witt. 2011. As Innovations Drive Economic Growth, Do They Also Raise Well-Being? Papers on Economics and Evolution 1105. http://hdl.handle.net/10419/57557. Accessed 01 Sept 2019
  2. Blok, Vincent. 2018. Philosophy of innovation: A research agenda. Philosophy of Management 17 (1): 1–5 http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s40926-017-0080-z. Accessed 01 Sept 2019.Google Scholar
  3. Blok, Vincent, and Pieter Lemmens. 2015. The emerging concept of responsible innovation. Three reasons why it is questionable and calls for a radical transformation of the concept of innovation. In Responsible Innovation 2, 19–35. Cham: Springer International Publishing http://link.springer.com/10.1007/978-3-319-17308-5_2. Accessed 01 Sept 2019.Google Scholar
  4. Boenink, Marianne. 2013. The multiple practices of doing ‘ethics in the laboratory’: A mid-level perspective. In Ethics on the Laboratory Floor, ed. Simone Van der Burg and Tsjalling Swierstra, 57–78. Springer.  https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137002938_4.
  5. Brand, Teunis, and Vincent Blok. 2019. Responsible innovation in business: A critical reflection on deliberative engagement as a central governance mechanism. Journal of Responsible Innovation 1 (313): 1–21.  https://doi.org/10.1080/23299460.2019.1575681.Google Scholar
  6. Burget, Mirjam, Emanuele Bardone, and Margus Pedaste. 2017. Definitions and conceptual dimensions of responsible research and innovation: A literature review. Science and Engineering Ethics 23 (1): 1–19.Google Scholar
  7. Callon, M. 2009. Civilizing markets: Carbon trading between in vitro and in vivo experiments. Accounting, Organizations and Society 34: 535–548.Google Scholar
  8. Deci, Edward L., and Richard M. Ryan. 2000. The ‘what’ and ‘why’ of goal pursuits: Human needs and the Delf-determination of behavior. Psychological Inquiry 11 (4): 227–268.Google Scholar
  9. Dold, Malte F., and Christian Schubert. 2018. Toward a behavioral Foundation of Normative Economics. Review of Behavioral Economics 5 (3–4): 221–241 http://www.nowpublishers.com/article/Details/RBE-0097. Accessed 01 Sept 2019.Google Scholar
  10. Earl, Peter E., and Jason Potts. 2004. The market for preferences. Cambridge Journal of Economics 28: 619–633.Google Scholar
  11. Elster, Jon. 1983. Sour grapes: Studies in the subversion of rationality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Floridi, Luciano. 2014. Technoscience and ethics foresight. Philosophy & Technology 27 (4): 499–501.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s13347-014-0180-9.Google Scholar
  13. Floridi, Luciano. 2018. Soft ethics and the governance of the digital. Philosophy & Technology: 1–13.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s13347-018-0303-9.
  14. Grunwald, Armin. 2011. Responsible innovation: Bringing together technology assessment, applied ethics, and STS research. Enterprise and Work Innovation Studies 7: 9–31 https://run.unl.pt/bitstream/10362/7944/1/Grunwald9-31.pdf. Accessed 01 Sept 2019.
  15. Grunwald, Armin. 2014. Technology assessment for responsible innovation. In Responsible innovation 1: Innovative solutions for global issues, ed. Jeroen Van Den Hoven et al., 15–31. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands.Google Scholar
  16. Gul, Faruk, and Wolfgang Pesendorfer. 2008. The case for mindless economics. In The foundations of positive and normative economics: A handbook, ed. A. Caplin and A. Schotter, 3–39. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Hassan, Zaid. 2014. The social labs revolution: A new approach to solving our Most complex challenges. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.Google Scholar
  18. Hausman, Daniel M. 1992. The inexact and separate science of economics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Hausman, Daniel M. 2012. Preference, value, choice, and welfare. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Hausman, Daniel M., and Michael S. McPherson. 2009. Preference satisfaction and welfare economics. Economics and Philosophy 25 (1): 1–25.Google Scholar
  21. Hausman, Daniel M., Michael S. McPherson, and Debra Satz. 2017. Economic analysis, moral philosophy, and public policy. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Häußermann, Johann Jakob, and Marie Heidingsfelder. 2017. Offen, Verantwortlich Und Verantwortlich Offen. TATuP Zeitschrift für Technikfolgenabschätzung in Theorie und Praxis 26 (1–2): 31 http://www.tatup.de/?journal=tatup&page=article&op=view&path%5B%5D=23. Accessed 01 Sept 2019.Google Scholar
  23. Heidingsfelder, Marie, Kora Kimpel, Kathinka Best, and Martina Schraudner. 2015. Shaping future — Adapting design know-how to reorient innovation towards public preferences. Technological Forecasting and Social Change 101: 291–298.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2015.03.009.Google Scholar
  24. Heidingsfelder, Marie Lena, Florian Schütz, and Simone Kaiser. 2016. Expanding participation participatory Design in Technology Agenda-Setting. In Proceedings of the 14th Participatory Design Conference on Short Papers, Interactive Exhibitions, Workshops - PDC ‘16, 25–28. New York: ACM Press http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?doid=2948076.2948087. Accessed 01 Sept 2019.Google Scholar
  25. Infante, Gerardo, Guilhem Lecouteux, and Robert Sugden. 2016a. ‘On the econ within’: A reply to Daniel Hausman. Journal of Economic Methodology 23(1): 33–37 http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1350178X.2015.1070526. Accessed 01 Sept 2019.Google Scholar
  26. Infante, Gerardo, Guilhem Lecouteux, and Robert Sugden. 2016b. Preference purification and the inner rational agent: A critique of the conventional wisdom of Behavioural welfare economics. Journal of Economic Methodology 23 (1): 1–25.  https://doi.org/10.1080/1350178X.2015.1070527.Google Scholar
  27. Kahneman, Daniel. 1982. In Judgement under uncertainty: Heuristics and biases, ed. Paul Slovic and Amos Tversky. New York & Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Kahneman, Daniel. 1996. Comment (on Plott). In The rational foundations of economic behaviour, ed. K. Arrow, E. Colombatto, M. Perlmann, and C. Schmidt, 251–254. Basingstoke.Google Scholar
  29. Kahneman, Daniel. 2011. Thinking, fast and slow. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.Google Scholar
  30. Kaiser, Simone, Hannah Glatte, Fabian Bitter, and Marie Heidingsfelder. 2019. Foresight as collaborative process - design-based scenarios as strategy tool in complex ecosystems. In Vorausschau Und Technologieplanung - 14. Symposium Für Vorausschau Und Technologieplanung, ed. Jürgen Gausemeier. Paderborn: Heinz Nixdorf Institut, Universität Paderborn.Google Scholar
  31. Kieboom, Marlieke. 2014. Lab matters: Challenging the practice of social innovation laboratories. Amsterdam: Kennisland.Google Scholar
  32. Lazar, Seth, and Colin Klein. 2018. Why we need more than just data to create ethical driverless cars. The Conversation. http://theconversation.com/why-we-need-more-than-just-data-to-create-ethical-driverless-cars-105650. Accessed 01 Sept 2018.
  33. Lecouteux, Guilhem. 2015. Thèse, École Doctorale de L’École Polytechnique Reconciling Normative and Behavioural Economics. Paris.Google Scholar
  34. Lubberink, Rob, Vincent Blok, Johan van Ophem, and Onno Omta. 2017. Lessons for responsible innovation in the business context: A systematic literature review of responsible, social and sustainable innovation practices. Sustainability 9 (5): 721 http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/9/5/721. Accessed 01 Sept 2019.Google Scholar
  35. Lubberink, Rob, Vincent Blok, Johan van Ophem, and Onno Omta. 2019. Responsible innovation by social entrepreneurs: An exploratory study of values integration in innovations. Journal of Responsible Innovation 0 (0): 1–32 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23299460.2019.1572374. Accessed 01 Sept 2019.Google Scholar
  36. Mas-Colell, Andreu, Michael D. Whinston, and Jerry R. Green. 1995. Microeconomic theory. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  37. McQuillin, Ben, and Robert Sugden. 2012. Reconciling normative and Behavioural economics: The problems to be solved. Social Choice and Welfare 38 (4): 553–567.Google Scholar
  38. Mulgan, Geoff. 2016. Good and Bad Innovation: What Kind of Theory and Practice Do We Need to Distinguish Them? :1–8. http://www.nesta.org.uk/sites/default/files/good_and_bad_innovation_by_geoff_mulgan.pdf. Accessed 01 Sept 2019.
  39. Overdevest, C., A. Bleicher, and M. Gross. 2010. The experimental turn in environmental sociology: Pragmatism and new forms of governance. In Environmental sociology, ed. M. Gross and H. Heinrichs, 279–294. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  40. Owen, R., P. Macnaghten, and J. Stilgoe. 2012. Responsible research and innovation: From science in society to science for society, with society. Science and Public Policy 39 (6): 751–760 http://spp.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/doi/10.1093/scipol/scs093. Accessed 01 Sept 2019.Google Scholar
  41. Owen, Richard, et al. 2013. A framework for responsible innovation. In Responsible innovation. managing the responsible emergence of science and innovation in society, ed. Richard Owen, Maggy Heintz, and John Bessant, 27–50. Chichester: Wiley.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.respol.2013.05.008.Google Scholar
  42. Philbeck, Thomas, Nicholas Davis, and Anne Marie Engtoft Larsen. 2018. Values, ethics, and innovation. Rethinking Technological Development in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Geneva.Google Scholar
  43. Reiss, Julian. 2013. Philosophy of economics: A contemporary introduction. New York and London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  44. Ribeiro, Barbara E., Robert D.J. Smith, and Kate Millar. 2017. A Mobilising concept? Unpacking academic representations of responsible research and innovation. Science and Engineering Ethics 23 (1): 81–103.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11948-016-9761-6.Google Scholar
  45. Rip, Arie. 2014. The past and future of RRI. Life Sciences, Society and Policy 10 (1): 17 https://lsspjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40504-014-0017-4. Accessed 01 Sept 2019.
  46. Rip, Arie. 2016. The clothes of the emperor. An essay on RRI in and around Brussels. Journal of Responsible Innovation 0 (0): 1–15 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23299460.2016.1255701. Accessed 01 Sept 2019.Google Scholar
  47. Robbins, Lionel. 1932. An essay on the nature and Significane of economic science. London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd..Google Scholar
  48. Schaer, Phillip. 2017. Living labs – An ethical challenge for researchers and platform operators. In In Internet research ethics for the social age, ed. Michael Zimmer and Katharina Kinder-Kurlanda, 167–176. Bern: Peter Lang.  https://doi.org/10.3726/b11077.Google Scholar
  49. Schäpke, Niko, et al. 2018. Labs in the real world: Advancing Transdisciplinary research and sustainability transformation: Mapping the field and emerging lines of inquiry. GAIA - Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society 27 (1): 8–11 http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/10.14512/gaia.27.S1.4. Accessed 01 Sept 2019.Google Scholar
  50. Schlaile, Michael P., Matthias Mueller, Michael Schramm, and Andreas Pyka. 2018. Evolutionary economics, responsible innovation and demand: Making a case for the role of consumers. Philosophy of Management 17 (1): 7–39.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s40926-017-0054-1.Google Scholar
  51. Schnellenbach, Jan. 2019. Evolving hierarchical preferences and behavioral economic policies. Public Choice 178 (1–2): 31–52.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11127-018-0607-4.Google Scholar
  52. Schroth, Fabian, and Johann Jakob Häußermann. 2018. Collaboration strategies in innovation ecosystems: An empirical study of the German microelectronics and photonics industries. Technology Innovation Management Review 8 (11): 4–12 https://timreview.ca/article/1195. Accessed 01 Sept 2019.Google Scholar
  53. Schroth, Fabian, and Martina Schraudner. 2019. Harnessing and realizing social innovation for RTOs (accepted for publication). In Atlas of social innovation II: Social innovation and digital transformation, ed. Jürgen Howaldt. Dortmund.Google Scholar
  54. Schroth, Fabian, Hannah Glatte, and Simone Kaiser. 2019. Integrating civil society into regional innovation systems. A social foresight lab approach. International Journal of Innovation and Regional Development. Google Scholar
  55. Schubert, Christian. 2012. Is novelty always a good thing? Towards an evolutionary welfare economics. Journal of Evolutionary Economics 22 (3): 585–619 http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s00191-011-0257-x. Accessed 01 Sept 2019.Google Scholar
  56. Schubert, Christian. 2015a. Opportunity and preference learning. Economics and Philosophy 31 (2): 275–295 http://www.journals.cambridge.org/abstract_S0266267115000139. Accessed 01 Sept 2019.Google Scholar
  57. Schubert, Christian. 2015b. What do we mean when we say that innovation and entrepreneurship (policy) increase ‘welfare’? Journal of Economic Issues 49 (1): 1–22 http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00213624.2015.1013859. Accessed 01 Sept 2019.Google Scholar
  58. Stilgoe, Jack, Richard Owen, and Phil Macnaghten. 2013. Developing a framework for responsible innovation. Research Policy 42 (9): 1568–1580 http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0048733313000930. Accessed 01 Sept 2019.Google Scholar
  59. Sugden, Robert. 2015a. Looking for a psychology for the inner rational agent. Social Theory and Practice 41 (4): 579–598.Google Scholar
  60. Sugden, Robert. 2015b. Opportunity and preference learning: A reply to Christian Schubert. Economics and Philosophy 31 (2): 297–303 http://www.journals.cambridge.org/abstract_S0266267115000140. Accessed 01 Sept 2019.Google Scholar
  61. Sunstein, Cass R., and Richard H. Thaler. 2003. Libertarian paternalism is not an oxymoron. The University of Chicago Law Review 70 (4): 1159–1202 http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/1600573?origin=crossref. Accessed 01 Sept 2019.Google Scholar
  62. Taddeo, Mariarosaria, and Luciano Floridi. 2018. How AI can be a force for good. Science 361 (6404): 751–752 http://www.sciencemag.org/lookup/doi/10.1126/science.aat5991. Accessed 01 Sept 2019.Google Scholar
  63. Taebi, B., et al. 2014. Responsible innovation as an endorsement of public values: The need for interdisciplinary research. Journal of Responsible Innovation 1 (1): 118–124.Google Scholar
  64. Thaler, Richard H., and Cass R. Sunstein. 2003. Libertarian Paternalism. The American Economic Review 93 (2): 175–179.Google Scholar
  65. Timmermans, Job, and Vincent Blok. 2018. A critical hermeneutic reflection on the paradigm-level assumptions underlying responsible innovation. Synthese. http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s11229-018-1839-z. Accessed 01 Sept 2019.
  66. Tversky, Amos, and Daniel Kahneman. 1974. Judgment under uncertainty: Heuristics and biases. Science 185 (4157): 1124–1131 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17835457. Accessed 01 Sept 2019.Google Scholar
  67. Von Schomberg, René. 2013. A vision of responsible research and innovation. In Responsible innovation. Managing the responsible emergence of science and innovation in society, ed. Richard Owen, John Bessant, and Maggy Heintz, 51–74. Chichester: Wiley http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/9781118551424.ch3. Accessed 01 Sept 2019.Google Scholar
  68. Von Schomberg, René. 2014. The quest for the ‘right’ impacts of science and technology: A framework for responsible research and innovation. In Responsible Innovation 1: Innovative Solutions for Global Issues, ed. Jeroen van den Hoven et al., 33–50. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands http://link.springer.com/10.1007/978-94-017-8956-1_3. Accessed 01 Sept 2019.Google Scholar
  69. Whitman, Douglas Glen, and Mario J. Rizzo. 2015. The problematic welfare standards of behavioral paternalism. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 6 (3): 409–425 http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s13164-015-0244-5. Accessed 01 Sept 2019.Google Scholar
  70. Witt, Ulrich. 1996. Innovations, externalities and the problem of economic Progress. Public Choice 89: 113–130.Google Scholar
  71. Witt, Ulrich. 2001. Learning to consume - a theory of wants and the growth of demand. Journal of Evolutionary Economics 11 (1): 23–36.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Responsible Research and InnovationFraunhofer-Institute for Industrial Engineering (IAO)StuttgartGermany
  2. 2.TUM School of GovernanceTechnical University MunichMunichGermany

Personalised recommendations