A Framework for Responsible Innovation in the Business Context: Lessons from Responsible-, Social- and Sustainable Innovation

  • Rob LubberinkEmail author
  • Vincent Blok
  • Johan van Ophem
  • Onno Omta


While the concept of Responsible Innovation is increasingly common among researchers and policy makers, it is still unknown what it means in a business context. This study aims to identify which aspects of Responsible Innovation are conceptually similar and dissimilar from social- and sustainable innovation. Our conceptual analysis is based on literature reviews of responsible-, social-, and sustainable innovation. The insights obtained are used for conceptualising Responsible Innovation in a business context. The main conclusion is that Responsible Innovation differs from social- and sustainable innovation as it: (1) also considers possible detrimental implications of innovation, (2) includes a mechanism for responding to uncertainties associated with innovation and (3) achieves a democratic governance of the innovation. However, achieving the latter will not be realistic in a business context. The results of this study are relevant for researchers, managers and policy makers who are interested in responsible innovation in the business context.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rob Lubberink
    • 1
    Email author
  • Vincent Blok
    • 2
    • 3
  • Johan van Ophem
    • 4
  • Onno Omta
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Management StudiesWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Management Studies Group, School of Social SciencesWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Philosophy Group, School of Social SciencesWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of Economics of Consumers and HouseholdsWageningen UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands

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