Project Management

Responsible Innovation: Two Pillars

Hemant Taneja

The most successful companies over the next couple of decades will be those that practice responsible innovation. They will seek to build technology that benefits all stakeholders, and they will try to foresee and avoid harmful unintended consequences.

But how? Doing all that requires thinking in ways that refute Silicon Valley’s conventional wisdom. Move fast, break things and hope for the best won’t work anymore. Nor will recklessly releasing minimum viable products and hoping they don’t do any damage — companies instead must think in terms of minimum virtual products. Other tech industry practices that have become problematic include the drive for hyper-scale, a winner-take-all mentality, and prioritizing shareholder value above all other outcomes.

There are two fundamental pillars to building a responsible innovation company in the 2020s:

Pillar 1: Mindset

Paramount when setting your company’s mindset is a simple idea: plan to endure. Your motivation should be to create positive consequences and solve important problems over the long haul – so your company will endure for a long time. That idea alone will prod company leaders to think through what problems they might solve for the world, the kind of culture you’ll want to develop, and how things could go wrong.

Pillar 2: Mechanism

A proper company mindset alone isn’t enough: you need mechanisms that make …

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