The responsible side of innovating

Responsible innovation is more than just innovating. It is creating a better environment for you, me and all the people around us.


September ninth, a lot of people are sitting at home and following the stream nervous about what they will present next. The tension is high and when the stream starts everybody is curious what, for some people, the biggest innovators of this planet have created now. I’m talking about Apple. A company started in 1976, which really got big in the beginning of the year 2000. The company has been seen since then as one of the most innovative companies. Apple has even been called brand of the decennium by AdWeek.

It sounds like an amazing company, with lots of innovation and ground breaking technologies. The world is in love with the brand, until it finds out all of their precious Iphones have been made, and are still made, mostly by child hands under very harsh conditions.

Has this been the “responsible innovation” everybody talked about?

Responsible innovation is more than just innovating. It is creating a better environment for you, me and all the people around us.

A company who is doing the complete opposite of Apple is Heineken. With factories all over the world it constantly tries to improve themselves. Heineken always uses 6% of their profit and uses it for innovation. They have 5 priorities from which the most important, in my opinion, is building for sustainability. Heineken is not just a brand, it does not only try to create a better product each time. No, Heineken does  a lot more.

Currently Heineken is protecting water resources by reducing water needed for brewing beer. It is also reducing CO2 emissions. Sourcing sustainably, by stimulating the local agriculture. They help farmers in Africa grow their own crops, and buy these crops of those farmers. Last but not least, Heineken is also advocating responsible consumption.

Heineken is doing a lot more than just innovating. The company has got a golden reputation and is seen as one of the leading brands in Responsible innovation.

Even though Apple is also putting money in responsible innovation, they are not taking matter into their own hands. They just give money to other organizations or invest money in green energy. While still a lot of employees in third world countries are working under wretched conditions. Apple is just creating an image that they are innovating responsible, instead of tackling the real issues.

Two million dollar companies and two completely different ways of innovating. While Heineken is actively contributing towards a better society in third world countries, while Apple is just donating money to other organizations. How come that these two companies have a completely different way of taking care of values while innovating? How can we make sure the million dollar companies actively contribute in those responsible innovation values? Do we even have influence to change company policy?

Responsible innovation is something you do together, together we create a better world. There is still a lot of work to do to meet the values of the United Nations.