Responsibility-by-design

Throughout last year I worked on a European Standard called CWA 17796 Responsibility-by-design – Guidelines to develop long-term strategies (roadmaps) to innovate responsibly, for the CEN. It is now available to download and use.

CEN is an association that brings together the National Standardization Bodies of 34 European countries, providing a platform for the development of European Standards and other technical documents in relation to various kinds of products, materials, services and processes.

This is what they say about themselves: The CEN works together with national standards bodies to create documents established by consensus and approved by a recognized body that provide, for common and repeated use, rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities or their results, aimed at the achievement of the optimum degree of order in a given context.

This document is a workshop agreement that provides guidelines to develop long-term strategies (roadmaps) for innovating responsibly, thereby helping organizations to achieve socially desirable outcomes from their innovation processes. The roadmaps encourage a “responsibility-by-design” approach that integrates considerations of technical, ethical, social, environmental, and economic aspects all along the research, development, and design process leading to an innovation.

After an introduction, the agreement offers an overview of principles for Responsible Research and Innovation, (reflection, anticipation, inclusion and responsiveness), before moving on to a section detailing the framework proposed.

The agreement closes with a series on annexes in which easy-to-interpret tables offer examples of RRI actions, tools, guideline applications, SWOT analysis for implementation in industry, tools for stakeholder analysis, methods for stakeholder engagement, criteria for impact analysis and key performance indicators before concluding with resources from other initiatives and a bibliography.

The idea is that it is a guide, offering suggestions on possible approaches that might help to make innovation strategies more responsive and responsible, following on from years of research and policy suggestions promoted by the European Commission.

Practical and not abstract, for ten Euros it can be downloaded here.

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