3Innovation and Responsibility

In the previous chapters, we have considered the issue of corporate responsibility. This chapter will focus on the questions that arise specifically in the context of innovation, a phenomenon which is of obvious interest to businesses, but which also has a much broader scope. Innovation is at the heart of contemporary economic rhetoric in terms of growth and international competition. Yet, current growth in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) is well below the two-figure levels seen during the 30-year postwar boom in the most developed countries, and appears to be following a similar trend in even the most dynamic countries, such as India and China1. The improvement of certain functions, the creation of new products or services and the reduction in costs associated with the development of new procedures are vital elements in ensuring continued growth.

First, at the company level, innovation is essential as it promotes organizational survival within a globalized market, which offers new opportunities but also increases competition. The economic “war” between companies in both national and international markets requires constant adaptation, along with the capacity to anticipate and even trigger change. Innovation enables companies to survive by reducing their production costs, improving products or service quality, or giving access to new markets. Innovation is also crucial at the macroeconomic level; it allows states to increase their economic ...

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