TO INFINITY, AND BEYOND - An explorative study of how innovative companies in Sweden take responsibility for actions and outcomes in their innovation process. For a better and more sustainable future
The view of innovation is often portrayed as a fundamental component of prosperity and societal development, thus highlighting the positive implications of innovation. However, innovation is a more nuanced phenomenon that entails negative impacts upon society as well. Meaning that innovation has indeed contributed to the grand societal challenges of today, which needs to be further addressed by new technological development. Although, in order to gain momentum and bring forward innovation that facilitates sustainable and responsible solutions, there is an increased need to reflect upon the potential impacts of one’s innovative ideas. Therefore, the theoretical framework of ´responsible innovation´ was brought to attention by researchers in order to address issues of potentially harmful innovation and to highlight the need for precautionary and reflective innovation processes. There is however a discrepancy between theory and practical implications of the framework, which is investigated further in this thesis. This study therefore investigates if innovative Swedish firms with sustainability-focused innovations are considered to act responsibly in their innovation process, by using the dimensions of the framework of responsible innovation - anticipation, reflexivity, inclusion and responsiveness as a means for translation. Seven Swedish cases were studied in order to gain insights with regards to how or if companies work responsibly in their innovation process. In addition, two expert interviews were made to further explain company behaviors as well as to gain useful insights regarding the innovation ecosystem in which innovative companies operate in. The research strategy is of qualitative nature using an abductive approach in order to gain a deeper understanding of the phenomenon. The design used is a multiple case study, which focuses on the context of the studied cases and investigates why diverse settings might have implications concerning certain company behaviors. Insights that are considered valuable for this thesis. Through the application of existing theory, featured in a literature review as well as through empirical data gathered from semi-structured interviews, within-case and cross-case analysis is adopted to discover patterns and relationships in the data. Thus, the empirical findings are compared and analyzed with existing literature to build theory as highlighted by Eisenhardt, using triangulation as a method to gain credibility of findings. Even though the subjects of this thesis were not familiar with the framework of responsible innovation, it is argued that the phenomenon was conceptualized to a great extent within each case context. Mainly through the innovations of the cases per se, focusing on sustainable and responsible solutions, however in addition to responsibility being the main component of company culture and mindset. This study therefore contributes with insights concerning how companies act responsibly in order to facilitate an understanding of the practical implications of the framework of responsible innovation.
the bright side of innovation
the dark side of innovation
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