Is Responsible Innovation Possible?

The problem of depoliticization for a normative framework of RI

Keywords: Responsibility, Politics, Depoliticization, (R)RI, Hannah Arendt


Global frameworks of RI face several challenges. These include (1) the extent to which economic interests can be reconciled with the concept of responsibility in innovation processes and (2) the lack of a strong political dimension in these frameworks’ conception of responsibility. Responding to these challenges is crucial if RI is to ensure that societal and natural needs are sufficiently considered in the innovation process. The influence of economic incentives on innovation processes coupled with the widespread depoliticization of persons makes it more urgent that RI adopt a political conception of responsibility in order to safeguard the legitimacy of the values and outcomes it deems societally desirable. This paper argues that the operative conception of responsibility in RI should be broadened to include a stronger political dimension. To this end, I turn to the work of Hannah Arendt to continue rethinking the concept of “the political” and, by extension, how responsibility and politics can be understood as two sides of the same coin.

Author Biography

Lisann Penttilä, Institute of Philosophy, KU Leuven, Belgium

PhD researcher at KU Leuven’s Institute of Philosophy (Leuven, Belgium). She received her BA, MA, and Research MA in philosophy from KU Leuven. Her research focuses on questions of political responsibility at the intersection of political philosophy, critical theory, and phenomenology. ORCID: