Responsible Innovation & Entrepreneurship Research Initiative

The main goal of this initiative is to support high-impact and rigorous scholarship in the realm of Responsible Innovation and Entrepreneurship (RI&E) such that it supports innovation and ethics-oriented elements of the University’s mission.

This initiative is the first of its kind in a business school in the United States.

RI&E Research Program's Primary Focus

Responsible Innovation

New technologies, products (both goods and services), and companies that start with ethical missions such as “do no evil” or develop green products often lose this focus as they scale in the pursuit of efficiencies through automation, new markets, revenues, and profits.

Beyond the pressures of financial stakeholders, this is another facet of how automation and the networked nature of the world are allowing entrepreneurs to scale rapidly (often without due reflection, due care, and due diligence) to launch products in the market whose unintended consequences may not be visible during development. Responsible innovation “means taking care of the future through collective stewardship of science and innovation in the present” (Stilgoe, Owen, and Macnaghten, 2013).

Responsible innovation processes typically tend to do well on four dimensions:

  • in including impacted stakeholders in the development process. Views the ecological environment as an always-impacted stakeholder with special status (unlike other stakeholders, it is without agency or voice) that has traditionally been neglected.
  • in anticipating adverse effects of technology at the micro (customers/consumers), meso (users and non-users), and macro levels (socio-ecological)
  • in being reflexive at the level of institutional practice (means holding a mirror up to one’s own activities, commitments, assumptions, being aware of the limits of knowledge, and being mindful that a particular framing of an issue may not be universally held)
  • in being responsive by shaping the direction of Innovation in response to changing stakeholder and socio-ecological concerns (Stilgoe, Owen, and Macnaghten, 2013).

As new classes of technologies (e.g., gene editing, Generative AI, implantable brain–computer interfaces, anti-aging) are developed in the future, they will concomitantly reveal new human conditions that can be exploited, thus creating new classes of responsibilities. For example, the responsibility for privacy did not arise until cameras were developed in the second half of the nineteenth century. Our focus is to help product developers and entrepreneurs anticipate the intended and unintended consequences of new technology and how it can affect disadvantaged and often excluded groups. We hope this work helps innovation professionals build anticipatory safety measures into products.

Responsible Entrepreneurship

From an entrepreneurship standpoint, the initiative will explore how companies that positively affect the environment and society can scale/not scale without compromising the "do no evil" or similar core missions that got them started and still remain profitable. Notably, the program will also explore the challenges mission/purpose-driven organizations face when commercializing responsible innovations and the business imperatives that come with the need to/not to scale and remain profitable. We see a few elements critical to this effort; responsible leadership (Voegtlin, Patzer, and Scherer 2012), developing eco-socially sustainable (Bocken et al. 2014) and regenerative (as opposed to extractive) business models, company culture, and setting up governance mechanisms (incentives, Key Consequence Indices, Key Performance Indices, oversight, etc.). The work of this research group should help ethical and mission-oriented companies scale/or not scale such that the ethical core endures and they are organized for responsibility rather than have "organized irresponsibility."

Watch Professor Ian Sinapuelas explain the idea of Responsible Innovation in the short YouTube videos below. For a more in-depth presentation, follow the trail of videos on the RIE YouTube Channel.

Explore Programmatic Components

Student Involvement


Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal PDW Flyer

Strategic Enrepreneurship Journal Paper Development Workshop

On the 20th of April, 2024, the Editors of the Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal (SEJ), Riitta Katila (Stanford University), Yong Li (University of Nevada Las Vegas), David Sirmon (University of Washington, Foster School of Business) and RI&E will co-host a full day Paper Development Workshop (PDW). This event will be part of the RI&E annual conference. SEJ is a Financial Times 50 journal.

Submission deadline: February 23rd, 2024.

Please click the link below for the Call for Papers. You will need an accepted paper to be part of this PDW.

JPIM Responsible Innovation Special Issue Flyer

JPIM Responsible Innovation Special Issue

The leadership of the RI&E Research Initiative and Phil Macnaghten are editing a Journal of Product Innovation Management (JPIM) Special Issue on Responsible Innovation. JPIM (ABDC 4*, AJG 4) is the leading scientific journal for Innovation and Innovation Management. May 31st, 2024 Deadline for Submission. Please click the link below for the Call for Papers.

Student success

Student Success

Dinakar Murthy, a Student in LFcoB's MSBA program, was selected to move forward to the next level of the California State University Research competition in the in the Business, Economics, and Hospitality Management Category. Under Professor Sungha Jang's supervision and with RI&E's support, he will participate in the SFSU Graduate Research and Creative Works Showcase on Thursday, April 18th, and represent SFSU at the statewide competition on Friday, April 26 & Saturday, April 27, 2024 hosted live at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo University.

RI&E wishes, Dinakar and Prof. Jang the very best for the competition!

Annual Reports


Bocken, N. M., Short, S. W., Rana, P., & Evans, S. (2014). A literature and practice review to develop sustainable business model archetypes. Journal of cleaner production65, 42-56.

Stilgoe, J., Owen, R., & Macnaghten, P. (2013). Developing a framework for responsible innovation. Research Policy, 42(9), 1568-1580.

Voegtlin, C., Patzer, M., & Scherer, A. G. (2012). Responsible leadership in global business: A new approach to leadership and its multi-level outcomes. Journal of business ethics105, 1-16.

Initiative Leadership and Partners

The Responsible Innovation & Entrepreneurship Research Initiative relies upon the interdisciplinary expertise and generosity of scholars from various departments in the college, across the local region, country, and internationally to bring its offerings to life. Please see here for more information.