Responsible Innovation in Industry

Delft University of Technology

Study load: 3 ECTS / credit points
Time frame: Jan. - Feb. 2024

Course coordinator(s)

Course teacher(s)


How can companies assess and address uncertainties, potential risks and public and ethical concerns in their innovation projects? How can they ensure that new products and services are safe? How can their innovation strategies achieve commitment from all stakeholders and enhance competitiveness and profitability at the same time? This course looks into analyzing ethical, legal and social impacts, dealing with controversial or conflicting issues, organizing effective stakeholder engagement, communicating the company's RI vision across the organization and overcoming resistance when implementing RI strategies.


Course Objectives

In this course you get acquainted with some of the main elements of doing responsible innovation in industry: (1) leadership and the formulation of KPIs (key performance indicators; (2) stakeholder engagement (3) specific approaches for responsible innovation in industry like safe-by-design and design for values.

Learning Outcomes

After the course, you will be able to:

  • Reflect on the main differences being doing responsible innovation in an industry setting compared to others settings
  • Being able to define KPIs for responsible innovation in industry
  • Design stakeholder strategies for responsible innovation in industry
  • Define the possibilities and limitations of specific strategies like safe-by-design and design-for values for doing responsible innovation in an industry setting.

Course Format

This course is based on an existing online course offered by TU Delft, titled ‘Innovation Strategies for Socially Responsible Firms‘. Using the teaching approach of the ‘flipped classroom’, participants will be asked to watch the lectures of this online course individually. Live group sessions will subsequently be used for further discussing the material offered in these video lectures and the accompanying literature.

For each of the 6 modules, there will be a 2-hour live session with participants. You are expected to spend about 10-11 hours on each module, including watching the MOOC video lectures and reading the literature assigned. You will spend another 15-20 hours on preparing a presentation for a final 2-hour session that closes off the course.

Please note that the order of the modules in this course is a bit different from the order of the modules in the MOOC. This should not be a large problem, as the videos from each modules to a large degree can be watched and understood independently from the other modules. Nevertheless, if possible you may want to consider watching the complete set of MOOC videos before the live group sessions start.

Course Modules

Module 1: Introduction

Teacher: Ibo van de Poel

  • General introduction to the concept of RI and its key elements.
  • The importance of RI for addressing societal challenges.

Required reading:

Recommended reading:

Module 2: Implementation of RI: Stakeholder Engagement

Teacher: Zenlin Roosenboom-Kwee

  • How to make stakeholder dialogue a success;
  • Translating results into optimizing products and services;
  • How to deal with public reactions that are hard to anticipate;
  • Risks of not involving stakeholders;
  • The importance of the gender and inclusiveness dimension;
  • Toolkit.

Required readings

Recommended readings

Module 3: Implementation of RI: Safe-by-Design

Teacher: Britte Bouchaut

  • Explanation of the safe-by-design approach during the whole lifecycle of the product;
  • Dealing with risks and how to prevent unintended and unforeseen negative impacts;
  • How to create and nurture a safety culture;
  • Various risk assessment approaches. 

Required readings

  • van de Poel, I., Robaey, Z. Safe-by-Design: from Safety to Responsibility. Nanoethics11, 297–306 (2017).
  • Bouchaut, B. and Asveld, L. (2020), Safe-by-Design: Stakeholders’ Perceptions and Expectations of How to Deal with Uncertain Risks of Emerging Biotechnologies in the Netherlands. Risk Analysis, 40: 1632-1644.
Module 4: Implementation of RRI: Design-for-Values

Teacher: Ibo van de Poel

  • The Design-for-Values approach method;
  • Implications for the design process;
  • Practical examples of how to apply it and the value added;
  • Dealing with conflicting and changing values. 

Required reading:

  • Van de Poel, Ibo. 2021. “Values and Design.” In Routledge Handbook to Philosophy of Engineering, edited by Diane P. Michelfelder and Neelke Doorn, 300-314. Routledge.
  • Davis, Janet, and Lisa P. Nathan. 2015. “Value Sensitive Design: Applications, Adaptations and Critiques.” In Handbook of ethics and values in technological design, edited by Jeroen van den Hoven, Pieter E. Vermaas and Ibo Van de Poel, 11-40. Springer.

Recommended reading:

Module 5: Leadership and Key Performance Indicators

Teacher: Emad Yaghmaei

  • Defining and creating a culture of shared values for innovation;
  • Implications for leadership;
  • Defining key performance indicators for RI;
  • Alignment with other business objectives;
  • Examples and best practices.

Required readings

  • Stahl, Bernd Carsten, Michael Obach, Emad Yaghmaei, Veikko Ikonen, Kate Chatfield, and Alexander Brem. 2017. “The Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) Maturity Model: Linking Theory and Practice” Sustainability 9, no. 6: 1036.
  • Van de Poel, Ibo, Lotte Asveld, Steven Flipse, Pim Klaassen, Zenlin Kwee, Maria Maia, Elvio Mantovani, Christopher Nathan, Andrea Porcari & Emad Yaghmaei (2020) Learning to do responsible innovation in industry: six lessons, Journal of Responsible Innovation, 7:3, 697-707, DOI: 10.1080/23299460.2020.1791506
  • Yaghmaei, Emad. (2018). Responsible research and innovation key performance indicators in industry: A case study in the ICT domain. Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society. 16. 10.1108/JICES-11-2017-0066.
  • Chapter 8 of Yaghmaei, Emad & Ibo van de Poel (eds, 2021). Assessment of Responsible Innovation; Methods & Practices. Routledge.

Recommended readings


Course Planning

  • Module 1: Tue. 9 Jan, 19.00-21.00 CET / 11am-1pm MST
  • Module 2: Thu. 18 Jan, 19.00-21.00 CET / 11am-1pm MST
  • Module 3: Tue. 23 Jan, 19.00-21.00 CET / 11am-1pm MST
  • Module 4: Thu. 30 Jan, 19.00-21.00 CET / 11am-1pm MST
  • Module 5: Thu. 8 Feb, 19.00-21.00 CET / 11am-1pm MST
  • Final meeting: Wed. 28 Feb, 19.00-21.00 CET / 11am-1pm MST

Course Requirements

To pass this course, you are expected to:

  • Actively prepare for and participate in the meetings connected to the modules;
  • Get a passing grade on a presentation that you prepare on a topic of your choice for the 6th and final 2-hour meeting.


The contents of this course is partly based on the EU-funded project ‘Piloting RRI in Industry: a roadmap for tranSforMAtive technologies‘, which ran from 2016 to 2019.