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Accepted Paper:

Innovation Beyond Growth: Opening the black box of 'Responsible Stagnation'  
Stevienna de Saille (University of Sheffield) Fabien Medvecky (Australian National University)

Paper short abstract:

We draw on existing cases to examine what heterodox economics might contribute to Responsible Innovation, and whether opening the black box of Responsible Stagnation might also open discussion about resource consumption as an intrinsic part of Responsible Innovation, rather than its binary opposite.

Paper long abstract:

Proponents of Responsible (Research and) Innovation have often opened their discussions with the reassurance that they are not advocating irresponsible stagnation, but rather a mutually responsive system directing innovation towards real social needs. However, this has also meant that in the two-by-two matrix generally used to illustrate this model of innovation, the quadrant for 'Responsible Stagnation' has so far gone largely unmentioned, let alone explored.

Although initially shaped as a counter-measure to top-level demands for speeding up high-tech innovation to stimulate economic growth, there is now evidence that as R(R)I begins to be more widely deployed, particularly through the activities and policies of the European Commission, it has become increasingly incorporated into the growth agenda. At the same time, heterodox economists who acknowledge limitations to the resources which may be extracted from the environment have called for deliberate movement towards a steady state of production, or even controlled degrowth of certain over-productive or too-risky sectors, a way of maintaining and measuring prosperity rather than continually attempting to increase production measured by GDP.

This paper draws on existing real-world cases to examine what arguments drawn from heterodox economics might contribute to the discussion of RI. It questions the present growth-driven paradigm, and asks whether opening the black box of 'Responsible Stagnation' might also open the door for a reasoned discussion about resource consumption, pace of development in over-productive or too-risky sectors and technologies, and distribution of benefit and impact as an intrinsic part of responsible innovation, rather than its opposite.

Panel T086
Rethinking innovation and governance
  Session 1 Thursday 1 September, 2016, -