Societal and Ethical Impact Canvas

If you are working in research and innovation, you may recognize the need to combine the creation of technology and the creation of a positive impact in society. You may call it Responsible Innovation, or Corporate Social Responsibility, or Creating Shared Value.

In that case, you will probably be busy indeed, running from meeting to meeting, talking to clients, managing projects, combining diverse concerns for technology, for marketing, and for society–within your organization and outside, with relevant stakeholders.

Well, have I good news for you 🙂

Here is a tool to get things done, to support your work in business development and project management:

The Societal and Ethical Impact Canvas

  • A framework and practical workshop format
  • To facilitate communication and dialogue
  • To help you in project scoping and definition
  • In larger, complex projects or in programs


Societal and Ethical Impact Canvas (PDF)

Benefits of using the Canvas

  • Clarity about the potential impact(s) of your project/program
  • Cultivate outside-in-thinking and a culture of dialogue
  • Engage the right clients, the right partners and stakeholders
  • Create an innovation eco-system that will actually deliver
  • Improve risk management and reputation management
  • Improve accountability and the fit with law and regulations
  • Better anticipate and serve customers’ and users’ needs
  • More focus, and thus more speed, within your project/program
  • Tap into people’s intrinsic motivations to ‘do good’ in society
  • Advance ‘creating shared value’ and do that collaboratively

Instructions for using the Canvas

Invite 6-8 people, including clients:

  • One or more clients, partners or stakeholders
  • The project manager or program manager
  • A business developer or accountmanager
  • An expert on content or domain
  • A facilitator (who knows the Canvas)

Organize a 60-90 minutes workshop:

  • Step 1 (15-25 minutes): Discuss and clarify impact
  • Step 2 (15-25 minutes): Define outputs and outcomes
  • Step 3 (15-25 minutes): Design collaboration
  • Step 4 (15-25 minutes): Wrap up and actions


  • A clear mission, including impact and collaboration

If you are interested in using this Canvas, please contact Marc Steen, senior research scientist at TNO ( This Canvas was developed in the JERRI project, which aims to promote Responsible Innovation, by Reijer Gaasterland, Suzanne Ogier, Joram Nauta and Marc Steen.


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