COMPASS Teaching cases

In the course of the COMPASS project, two teaching cases were developed and will be published in the upcoming update to SAGE Business Cases, which is currently scheduled for January 2020. The collection of SAGE Business Cases provides faculty, students and alumni of universities that purchase the collection with free unlimited access to a current number of 3,000 authoritative cases from over 100 countries. 

Each case consists of an introduction to nanotechnology or cyber security, respectively, an introduction to responsible innovation, the case, expected learning outcomes and discussion questions. Both cases are further accompanied by a teaching note that describes teaching objectives, target audience, suggested teaching strategy and suggested answers to the discussion questions. Both cases were designed for use with students of business administration and of the natural sciences at master’s level; and should be used in courses that deal with corporate responsibility or societal impact of corporate activities (for business students) or in any course dealing with research ethics or entrepreneurship (for natural sciences students).


(1) Teaching case about nanotechnology SME based on the COMPASS “Applied Nanoparticles” good practice case

This case describes how the concept of responsible innovation is practically applied in a nanotechnology company, called Applied Nanoparticles SL (AppNPs). The company is a small university spin-off company based in Spain that has, from its foundation, striven to act in accordance with the principles of responsible innovation. It makes an intriguing case by demonstrating how the decision to strive for highest levels of safety and sustainability can create competitive edge. Nanotechnologies provide a useful context to understand the use as well as the challenges for a company that wants to implement the responsible innovation concept, as the level of uncertainty in the field is particularly high, applications of nanotechnologies are varied and the legal framework is lagging behind technological developments. The case shows students why this company has chosen to make responsibility their unique selling point and how the company structure, employee involvement, transparency and compliance activities are aligned with the concept of responsible innovation. At the same time, it stimulates students to evaluate benefits and challenges arising from implementing the concept of responsible innovation in the nanotechnology context.

Jarmai, K. & Stacherl, B. (forthcoming 2020). Applied Nanoparticles SL: Responsible nanotechnology innovation. In SAGE Business Cases.

Cyber security

(2) Teaching case about cyber security SME based on information on the website of Yoti Ltd. and its YouTube channel

This case illustrates how the concept of responsible innovation is practically applied in a cyber security company. The cyber security sector is a fast growing field that has emerged as a response to developments in the information and communication technology (ICT) industry. Large and growing amounts of (confidential) data and technological advancements have necessitated tools and mechanisms that ensure safe and secure handling of data and prevent misuse of data. As a result, both the ICT and the cyber security sector are currently characterized by numerous and fast innovations. The concept of responsible innovation is targeted at innovating in a way that maximizes societal benefits and minimizes potential risks stemming from the innovation. The example of the company Yoti Ltd. demonstrates how the concept of responsible innovation is put to use in the cyber security sector, which is marked by a combination of fast innovation and ever-new emerging cyber-threats. As Yoti was founded with ethics and security considerations at the heart of the company, it is a real-world example of how elements of responsible innovation can be integrated into core business activities. It shows that the principles of responsible innovation can be transformed into a successful business model. In particular, Yoti puts an emphasis on data responsibility, transparency, consumer trust and stakeholder collaboration. This case challenges students to find ways in which cyber security companies can deal with the danger of criminal misuse and to find approaches that facilitate the implementation of responsible innovation in a cyber security context.

Jarmai, K. & Stacherl, B. (forthcoming 2020). Yoti: Responsible innovation in cyber security. In SAGE Business Cases.

Responsible Innovation COMPASS

Evidence and Opportunities for Responsible Innovation in SMEs

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