The Munich conference series on Ethics in Innovation
The Max Planck Institute for Innovation & Competition and the World Forum for Ethics in Business, in partnership with the German Patent & Trade Mark Office, the Peter Löscher Chair for Business Ethics at the Technical University of Munich, and the European Patent Office, are organizing a series of conferences titled the ‘Munich Conference Series on Ethics in Innovation.’
Introduction & Concept
What is considered ‘ethical’ and ‘innovative’ varies from person to person, culture to culture, and even from industry to industry. This difference in perception may, at first glance, seem to be of interest only from a purelyacademic perspective. In reality, however, it plays a crucial and practical role in ensuring a healthy and balanced public debate, which, in the end, can influence all segments of human life, including the approach to education, the focus of scientific research efforts, the framework of laws and policies, and even the flow of capital at the level of societies, communities, countries and regions.
It is perhaps no wonder, therefore, that despite widespread globalization, even in the 21st century, it is notcorporate profits alone that drive the direction and success of an innovation. Diverse ethical views, including socio-cultural norms, social or individual history and the historical evolution of world views predominant in various regions of the world, all play a significant role in determining the direction and goals of innovation invarious societies or communities on the one hand, and the manner in which these innovations are viewed,disseminated and used around the globe, on the other.
In addition, there is a growing recognition of the need to not only ensure and encourage innovations as such, but also to ensure and encourage innovations that achieve larger societal goals, such as environmental protection, inclusiveness, sustainability, affordability and competition. There is, accordingly, a need to diversify and broaden the academic, socio-economic, cultural discourse pertaining to what constitute an ‘ethical innovation’.
Ethical issues and dominant world views emerging therefrom, broadly speaking, also guide the adoption of laws and regulations associated, inter alia, with testing, adopting, disseminating, using and even patenting of certain types of innovations, to the exclusion of others.
Yet, in the 21st century global village, with the confluence of diverse cultures through immigration, job hunts and even growing frequency of inter-cultural marriages, it is
necessary to re-think the fundamental understanding that we as a human society have of the terms ‘innovation’ and ‘ethics’ as such, and of their relationship with one another in narratives employed at national and international debates linked with innovation.
Download the program