Lucien von Schomberg (1992) received his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in philosophy, both awarded cum laude, from the University of Leuven. As a continental philosopher, he specializes in the works of Martin Heidegger with particular focus on the concept of truth. Since September 2016 he is working on his PhD project, in which he applies his expertise to the emerging field of Responsible Innovation.
Philosophical Reflections on the Nature of Innovation within the Emerging Context of Responsible Innovation
Even though the concept of innovation travels through a rich history of different meanings, today it is spontaneously understood as ‘technological innovation’ and ‘commercialized innovation’. At the same time, the global issues of our age urge innovation to go beyond the sole intent of generating commercial value. In this respect, upcoming research under the heading of Responsible Innovation (RI) calls for a political discourse of innovation, in which innovation processes should instead be concerned with generating the ‘right’ impact. Although the concept of innovation is thus widely understood in terms of commercialized technologies, recent frameworks of RI have now attempted to shift the focus towards formulating what a political discourse of innovation precisely entails, and how it can be achieved in practice.
However, little thought goes into what innovation itself means conceptually. Both policy makers and researchers continuously discuss how to enable outcomes of innovation processes to become more responsible and desirable, but rarely raise questions with regard to the technological and commercial nature of these processes. Can this common understanding of innovation ever lead to more responsible types of innovation? To what extent is it fundamentally at odds with a political discourse of innovation?
In light of these questions, von Schomberg investigates the technological and commercial character of the way innovation is widely at play today, and discusses what implications this has for the societal purpose of RI. Moreover, he explores what a political discourse of innovation means philosophically, and how it may overcome the implications at stake. The two main philosophers he focusses on are Martin Heidegger and Hannah Arendt. Ultimately, the results of this investigation should provide insight with regard to both the throughput and output of innovation processes in such a way that they contribute to the very idea of RI and beyond.