Responsible Innovation

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Responsible Innovation

Economic development is rooted in disruption, not in equilibrium. And a powerful engine of economic development is innovation; but is this innovation always for the common good? The dark side of the extraordinary dynamism of innovation lies precisely in its destructive power. If simply left to market forces, it could lead to social chaos and great human suffering.

To face the challenges of our time, we must create the proper climate and culture to develop strong entrepreneurial drive. But, more than ever, we must give this entrepreneurial drive its ethical and societal dimensions. Responsible innovation means a more voluntary orientation towards the great problems of the 21st century, e.g. depletion of the planet’s resources, rising inequality, and new scientific developments potentially threatening freedom, democracy and human integrity. We need to transform our ceaseless creativity into real progress for humankind. In this respect, the rapid development of social innovation opens the door for new methods and practices.

In Responsible Innovation, Philippe de Woot challenges conventional ways of thinking. This book has the power to shift accepted norms in our ways of doing business.

Innovation has tremendous potential to change the world for the better. It is no longer limited to technology but is applied to many entrepreneurial dimensions by the most successful organizations. 

This book concisely highlights the challenges — societal, environmental and ethical — and urges leaders in business, government, academia and NGOs to further cooperate in order to harness this potential for the common good.



Charles de Liedekerke, Director, Bekaert

Innovative entrepreneurialism is essential for our future growth yet increasingly exists in a political (and possibly ethical) vacuum. Philippe de Woot’s outstanding book shows us the way forward and the pitfalls to avoid.

Professor Eric Cornuel, Director and CEO, European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD)

This book beautifully captures the relationship between entrepreneurial creativity and the urgent needs of our time. Existing examples give hope for effectively addressing the challenges of the 21st century. It also stresses the necessity to give our increasing techno-scientific power its ethical and societal dimensions.

Professor Henri Claude de Bettignies, Insead and Stanford University

The inspirations and thoughts of the author are more than relevant and appropriate for today’s necessary and future “spirit” of entrepreneurship.


Alick Sytor, Secretary General of Belgian Association of Christian Business Leaders

Table of Contents


Part 1: Innovation at the heart of the economy

The decisive competitive weapon

The collective entrepreneur: increased innovative power

Racing ahead and temporary monopolies

The entrepreneurial chain and corporate culture

Part 2: Innovation, fairness and the common good

Woe to the vanquished: creative destruction

Prometheus or the ambiguity of economic and technical creativity

Power over the future in an ethical and political vacuum

Part 3: Responsible innovation

The entrepreneurial imperative

Turning creativity into progress

A more societal focus of creative capacity

Ethics, politics and the technosciences

Social innovations

PHILIPPE DE WOOT is Emeritus Professor at Louvain Catholic University in Belgium, where he taught Business Policy, Strategic Management and Business Ethics. He is actively committed to researching and promoting CSR. 


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