British Standards Institution Call for Comments: Responsible Innovation

Those of you interested in how the responsible innovation debate has begun to take hold in the business world might like to take a look at a call for input from the British Standards Institution. They are developing a Standard on Responsible Innovation.

Many of you may have seen the Kite Mark symbol above on various things you have bought but maybe not thought about what it is or how it is awarded, so here I offer a bit of insider information.

The British Standards Institute has published a draft of a standard on responsible innovation and await (your) comments, which can be made (after free registration) until 29 October 2019 as part of a typical timeline for the development of a published Standard. The draft document is published through the BSI website linked above with a view to amendments on the draft and publication in 2020.

What are Standards?

Taken from the BSI website, Standards are described as:

an agreed way of doing something. It could be about making a product, managing a process, delivering a service or supplying materials – standards can cover a huge range of activities undertaken by organizations and used by their customers.

The distilled wisdom of people with expertise in their subject matter and who know the needs of the organizations they represent – people such as manufacturers, sellers, buyers, customers, trade associations, users or regulators.

They are designed for voluntary use, you’re not forced to follow a set of rules that make life harder for you, you’re offered ways to do your work better.

Standards are knowledge. They are powerful tools that can help drive innovation and increase productivity. They can make organizations more successful and people’s everyday lives easier, safer and healthier.


The British Standards Institution

The role of the BSI is described on the website as:

the UK’s National Standards Body (NSB), representing UK economic and social interests across all European and international standards organizations. Working with many different industries, businesses, governments and consumers to develop British, European and international standards, that are developed by dedicated panels of experts, within technical committees.

A standard undergoes various stages of development, beginning with the Proposal stage, which is aimed at affirming the market need for a standard. Once a proposal for a standard is approved, the relevant panel of experts in the area is tasked with drafting the standard, as per internationally agreed principles of standards development.

As soon as a draft is mature enough, it undergoes public consultation when it is made available for anyone to view and comment (Public comment stage, the stage that this draft is now in). Every public comment BSI receives on a draft standard is considered by the relevant panel of experts and BSI staff and the final published standard is updated as appropriate.

Following public consultation and before a draft can become a published standard, it undergoes further edits until the panel is satisfied with its quality and only when consensus has been reached.

The standard is a specification, working practices are described that the business can aim to work towards. It is a sort of tutoring system to help businesses work towards a set of goals, in this case a responsible innovation approach.

So if you have time why not have a look at what they are proposing? And maybe comment. It might help its development and even work towards making the world a more responsible place.

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