The power of ethics: How value-based thinking fosters creative and sustainable IT product innovation

Bednar, Kathrin ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7667-9449 and Spiekermann-Hoff, Sarah (2021) The power of ethics: How value-based thinking fosters creative and sustainable IT product innovation. Working Papers / Institute for IS & Society. Institute for Information Systems and Society, Vienna.

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Abstract

The digital transformation of the economy pressures companies to come up with convincing value propositions for investors and customers and to defend a competitive position in an environment of start-ups. While the need for creativity abounds in this environment, innovation needs to accommodate not only hyped technical advancements, but also ethically relevant values that support a sustainable future. In a two-study mixed-method research project covering three IT products––a digital toy, a food-delivery app and a telemedicine system––we show that the value-based product planning approach, which is inspired by utilitarianism, virtue ethics, and deontology, significantly increases creative output and ethical foresight, especially when compared to traditional product roadmapping practices. In the value-based approach, participants considered a diverse set of stakeholders and took potential adverse effects into account, while at the same time acknowledging values linked to several sustainability. While instrumental values with a technical and economic focus (e.g., IT security or efficiency) dominated ideas from the traditional product roadmapping approach, participants acknowledged higher principles with intrinsic value (e.g., freedom or personal growth) when employing value-based product planning. This paper presents results on the creative power that can be unleashed by taking different ethical perspectives in a value-based approach. With this, we hope to inspire future value-oriented research and innovation projects. We conclude with implications for both traditional product innovation practices and value-oriented frameworks.

Item Type: Paper
Divisions: Departments > Wirtschaftsinformatik u. Operations Mgmt > Wirtschaftsinformatik und Gesellschaft
Depositing User: Kathrin Bednar
Date Deposited: 23 Jul 2021 09:30
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2021 09:30
FIDES Link: https://bach.wu.ac.at/d/research/results/97385/
URI: https://epub.wu.ac.at/id/eprint/7847

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