UNI/PdR 27:2017 provides a set of requirements to design, set up and manage responsible innovation processes. It is a voluntary standard, open for consultation.
For RI to be embedded into the actual innovation process, a systematic approach is needed that, while being consistent, coherent and comprehensive, allows flexibility in devising solutions: UNI/PdR 27:2017 is a set of requirements and guidelines to support identification of solutions, and not a tool box.
The guidelines provide a set of requirements businesses should implement (through specific/original management and operational solutions and practices) to manage their innovation processes, according to the principles of responsible innovation, including stakeholder engagement, risk prevention and/or precautionary principle, social and environmental sustainability, economic and financial sustainability.
The guidelines also stress the importance of indicators and of communication processes, to ensure governance and openness. The guidelines provide a reference for assessment and third-party certification.
The guidelines provide a management and benchmarking reference, and specifically account for stakeholder engagements, therefore all quadruple-helix actors benefit from their implementation: companies, public bodies and other institutions, academia and researchers, consumers/users and citizens.
Standards as the UNI/PdR 27:2017 could be referred to by public policies as proof of sound committment to responsible innovation by organisation applying for funding: in this regard, UNI/PdR 27:2017 can be useful to the mainstreaming of RI in RIS3 development (at the core of MARIE
Resources necessary to either implement or promote implementation of UNI/PdR 27:2017 mainly consists in purchasing external expertise and/or build internal expertise on the standards elements and more broadly on responsible innovation. Providing general figures is not possible.
Evidence of success
Evidence of success is to be sought looking at the experience that led to the UNI/PdR 27:2017, i.e. the UGO management system for responsible innovation, that was validated by five enterprises. UNI (Italian ISO member) identified UGO as a good practice worth becoming an official set of guidelines to be made available for wider use and consultation. At the time being, the consultation process is open for five years, while UNI collects feedback from stakeholders. Feedback is not available yet.
Lack of a business culture truly inspired by sustainable development goals and societal challenges.
Current low awareness of responsible innovation principles, benefits and challenges.
Lack of clear political support to responsibility in innovation.
Potential for learning or transfer
Currently, the UNI/PdR 27:2017 guidelines are a tool that is proposed for testing on the part of enterprises and practitioners. Thus, we may say conditions for their uptake are still under analysis and discussion, or else it would be widely used already. Of course, there need to be adequate awareness among companies of the potential of RI in terms of contribution to sustainable development and in terms of return on innovation investments, for enterprises to even consider innovating responsibly and – thus – identifying a need to develop a strategic approach and operational procedures, therefore expressing a need for guidance. Raising such awareness prior to disseminating the guidelines and/or providing support for their implementation is a preliminary condition. Also, is important that private and public influencers embrace the guidelines and become their champions to trigger it dissemination.
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