Our mission

With this guide, our mission is to strengthen the RRI and CSR movement by creating ways for the tech industry and the wider innovation ecosystem to include societal engagement within business processes. Our view is that, with increasing requirements for accountability, companies should have the know how, methods and tools for the new direction towards fully responsible tech innovation.

Responsible innovation is more than just top down accountability. It is also about:

  • Taking care of your business’ reputation.
  • Responding to a customer driven demand for responsible innovation.
  • Boosting morale amongst your employees who gain a greater sense of purpose in their work when societal values are considered.
  • Building a stronger network of partners, stakeholders, clients and customers through societal engagement.
  • Increasing your own sense of contributing towards a better future.

The Guide towards Responsible Tech Innovation using Societal Engagement ’ is designed to help you find the best approach to make responsible tech innovation possible: by engaging citizens.

Zachary Davis, Team Manager at the Danish Technological Institute with a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, explains in more detail why the tech industry should seriously consider responsible innovation:

Why do we need to consider ethical and societal issues in tech innovation?

Innovative technologies are expected to bring radical changes in society , for example in the interactions between people in situations such as:

  • at work where new technologies change the way we communicate, or even transform the nature of work itself,
  • in health care where technology changes the interaction between patients and doctors,
  • in public and private urban space where new technologies affect the interactions between strangers,
  • on a global level in how we, as stakeholders, are engaged in various processes , thereby potentially transforming norms, values and habits.

Therefore, we need participatory processes to address society’s existing values and subsequently build upon these to formulate new ways forward in tech innovation processes, policies and governance. The current approach is to engage citizens indirectly, through political, cultural and academic platforms, but the information does not necessarily reach the tech industry. Our mission with this guide is to forge a more direct link between the tech industry and citizens , so that nothing gets lost in translation. The citizens’ perspective can directly feed into your innovation processes, while your company can benefit from the stronger reputation, satisfied clients and customers, more relevant tech development, larger network and ethical contribution to society.

Insight from a civil society organisation in Bulgaria: ethical issues

Aneta Piperkova , Patient Advocate at the Bulgarian Association for Personalized Medicine, explains the ethical issues from the perspective of a civil society organisation:

Insight from a company in Serbia: How can users help in the creation of new technologies?

Milica Miloševic, Director of the telemedicine company stetoskop.info, explains why engaging users can lead to better innovation:

Example of ethical issues from citizens’ perspective

In this example, we demonstrate how engaging citizens in a discussion about ethical issues surrounding the use and implementation of Artificial Intelligence can provide many insights. Tecnalia , our project partners in Spain, organised a workshop focusing on the socio ethical issues of implementing AI into manufacturing, especially addressing issues regarding the future of work. The workshop consisted of an expert talk on the subject, a panel discussion and an exercise where the participants discussed different issues regarding AI in manufacturing. The discussion raised the following points that urgently need to be addressed:

  • Gender equality, for example the absence of women as role models in AI, but also inclusiveness of minorities.
  • STEM education, in particular engaging girls.
  • Raising awareness of the implications of AI in education
  • Protection of data and how Privacy can be assured using AI.
  • To promote critical thinking about new technologies.
  • The importance of role models that can bridge industrial needs and the portion of new educational grades.
  • Silo-mentality between social and natural science.
  • Unemployment due to the adoption of AI.
  • Mental and physical health issues that can emerge due to AI in the workplace.

The workshop provided a wealth of perspectives on the concerns about the adaption of AI. This information can be used to understand the non technical side of implementation of AI in manufacturing.

Questions to consider

  • Why would you like to bring in more societal engagement into your company?
  • In which ways would you like to bring in more societal engagement?
  • To which extent is there a sense of accountability in your company, and to whom?
  • How do you think citizens perceive your technology?
  • What would you like to find out about the perspectives and values of citizens in regard to the type of technology being developed by your company?


The Tech Industry’s Guide has been created as part of the EU-funded SocKETs project, which aims to align innovative technologies with citizens’ needs and values through societal engagement.
This 3-year project has been managed by 10 partners from 8 European countries.

This guide and its contents reflect only their authors’ view. The Research Executive Agency and the European Commission are not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained herein.

The SocKETs project (Societal Engagement with Key Enabling Technologies) has received funding from the European Union´s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation under grant agreement no.958277.