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23 January 2012 Institute of Nanotechnology

Responsible innovation in finance and services

Richard Moore, Scientific Director, Institute of Nanotechnology

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In a book published on 8 December 2011 by FT Press, David Jones, the CEO of leading international advertising firm Havas who has also advised David Cameron, argues that there is a commercial benefit for companies who demonstrate that they act responsibly and that corporate transparency is a key factor to achieving business success.

Furthermore, the European Commission is set to make responsible innovation (RI) a cornerstone of its forthcoming Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (entitled Horizon 2020) for the period 2014-2020 which has a proposed budget of some €80 billion, with the leading themes of promoting smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, and making the EU competitive with other developed economies and emerging economies.

But how do we define "responsibility" in relation to innovation? Which sectors will be affected? Who is responsible to whom and for what? And what tools can we use to transform responsible innovation from an aspiration to a practical reality?

While RI in emerging areas such as nanotechnology has been the subject of intense discussions over recent months, can RI be applied in other key economic sectors? At a conference entitled "Debating Responsible Innovation in Finance" held on 30 November 2011 in Paris, a variety of speakers considered various challenges in the financial services sector such as the negative unforeseen consequences of financial innovation, how to assess and test the introduction of new products and services in the markets, how to quantify their benefits and their dangers, the potential role of incentives, including bonuses, in fostering responsibility or irresponsibility in financial, economic, regulatory and political behavior, and consideration of measures that could strengthen a more participatory approach to financial innovation and oversight, with a deeper understanding of public scrutiny and collective responsibility in the face of risk and uncertainty.

Furthermore, there is much ongoing research into how responsible innovation can be maintained through innovation value chains and service innovation.

Many of these themes will be discussed by leading UK experts in responsible innovation, ethical and sustainable development and corporate social responsibility at IoN’s forthcoming workshop "Responsible Innovation as a Business Driver", which will be held in London on 31 January 2012. They will additionally highlight important forthcoming initiatives on RI and will offer guidance on ways to practice and demonstrate responsible innovation and to use it as a powerful business driver and means of boosting customer confidence.

Source: Institute of Nanotechnology /...

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