Navigating Towards Responsible Innovation: Building the Right Innovation for a Business Ecosystem

Sofia Sturlese & Denise Moroni

Student thesis: Master thesis


The purpose of this study it to enhance the understanding of the relationship between doing responsible innovation and business ecosystem health. The topic seems unexplored in literature, suggesting a research gap. The subject seems relevant in view of current market imperatives such as interfirm settings and constant innovative efforts. In light of this, exploring the potential of responsible innovation in avoiding undesirable and harmful impacts of innovation seems crucial. To close the gap, the following research question was derived: How can a business ecosystem be healthy by doing responsible innovation? This study was conducted as an inductive single case study of an innovation and the business ecosystem it is embedded in. Specifically, the case of Camøno, a communitarian walking trail on the Danish island of Møn whose innovative concept reshaped the dynamics between the surrounding businesses, was selected. In total ten businesses took part in the research, all being members of the selected business ecosystem. Primary data was gathered with different qualitative techniques and results were generated through the use of a thematic analysis framed on the four dimensions of responsible innovation and the three health variables of business ecosystems. The findings from the study are categorized in two tables illustrating respectively what key drivers enable anticipation, reflexivity, inclusion and responsiveness, and what key factors enhance robustness, productivity and niche creation. A discussion highlighting the strong relationship between the two sets of findings, answers the research question. Enablers of responsible innovation appear to positively impact the ecosystem health factors, suggesting how a business ecosystem can be healthy by doing responsible innovation. The study provides practical recommendations for managers about the set of activities they should undertake to benefit the business ecosystem they are embedded in. The study is limited by a single case study. Hence, future research is recommended to validate the findings. Also, given the lack of previous research on the topic, future research is suggested for extending the knowledge on the subject.

EducationsMSc in Management of Innovation and Business Development, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages146
SupervisorsAna Maria Munar