Charter

Responsible Innovation Labs
June 2022

New technologies and the companies that build them have a potent influence over human lives, and on our collective future on Earth and beyond—with enormous power to do good but also, if not used responsibly, to do harm. 

As founders, investors, engineers, policy makers and industry leaders who create, govern, and market new technologies, we are committed to an ethic of responsible innovation and accountability for the consequences of what we build. Some of us have been working this way for years; for others this is an evolution. In either case, we acknowledge a collective responsibility to shape an industry that leaves the world better than we found it, and the need to do this work with urgency and purpose. We have no time to waste.

As an industry, we cannot manage our products and businesses solely aimed at growth and profits in the near term, as critical as they are. Nor can we prioritize speed and scalability over all other considerations. Instead, we must integrate and prioritize suitable constraints, transparency, and frameworks that support sustainable growth and good. That is the essence of responsible innovation, and it requires a new focus in the way the innovation community approaches and values its work.

How we build

While each of our individual companies serves its own purpose, we have come together because we share a fundamental commitment to forming an industry that innovates for the good of all by pursuing two core approaches to responsible company-building:

1. Innovating Intentionally
We must consider the impacts our technologies will have on the world, and build rigor into our operations and governance to look for and minimize negative unintended consequences. We must build with appropriate humility, about both the limitations of our own understanding and the ways that our direct and indirect users can be unfairly impacted, influenced or exploited. 

2. Operating with Accountability and Transparency
We must measure the impacts of our technologies on people and society, not only on our economic success, and we must be transparent about those metrics. We must be open and clear with our stakeholders about the policies and processes that govern the technology we build, and about trade-offs between societal interests and growth and profits.

Innovating Intentionally.

We must consider the impacts our technologies will have on the world, and build rigor into our operations and governance to look for and minimize negative unintended consequences. We must build with appropriate humility, about both the limitations of our own understanding and the ways that our direct and indirect users can be unfairly impacted, influenced or exploited.

Operating with Accountability and Transparency.

We must measure the impacts of our technologies on people and society, not only on our economic success, and we must be transparent about those metrics. We must be open and clear with our stakeholders about the policies and processes that govern the technology we build, and about trade-offs between societal interests and growth and profits.

What we value

We believe these form the core of responsible innovation and can contribute, not only to avoiding harm, but to affirmatively building a society that is more prosperous, free, healthy and fair. As we pursue responsible innovation in company building, we must be guided by values that reflect a shared understanding of what it means to build a good society and good lives. These values include:

Advancing Inclusive Prosperity.
Technology reshapes how we work and who benefits from our economy. It is vital that we make a path for everyone to benefit from a more prosperous and abundant future, and that no one is left behind by what we create.

Building and Maintaining Sustainably.
Innovation can contribute to building a healthier planet. Responsible businesses must be crafted with environmental sustainability from the outset. By design, our operations, products and footprints must be sustainable and in service of the wellbeing of the planet and its people.

Respecting People.
Innovation should be judged by how it encourages and supports human flourishing. Every human being has value and a right to autonomy and dignity. We must build business models and products that safeguard these values, including a core respect for the time, attention, privacy, security and safety of users.

Championing Diversity.
Enduring businesses cannot be built without diverse teams. Only by building organizations that are inclusive and representative of the whole society will companies be capable of seeing—and addressing—the broadest spectrum of human needs.

Promoting Healthy Societies.
Companies exist within the context of society and its institutions, not in a vacuum. We pledge to build companies and technologies that are consistent with the health of core societal institutions, including functioning governments, respectful discourse, a free press, the just application of law, and free and fair elections.

Advancing Inclusive Prosperity.

Technology reshapes how we work and who benefits from our economy. It is vital that we make a path for everyone to benefit from a more prosperous and abundant future, and that no one is left behind by what we create.

Building Sustainably.

Innovation can contribute to building a healthier planet. Responsible businesses must be crafted with environmental sustainability from the outset. By design, our operations, products and footprints must be sustainable and in service of the wellbeing of the planet and its people.

Respecting People.

Innovation should be judged by how it encourages and supports human flourishing. Every human being has value and a right to autonomy and dignity. We must build business models and products that safeguard these values, including a core respect for the time, attention, privacy, security and safety of users.

Championing Diversity.

Enduring businesses cannot be built without diverse teams. Only by building organizations that are inclusive and representative of the whole society will companies be capable of seeing—and addressing—the broadest spectrum of human needs.

Promoting Healthy Societies.

Companies exist within the context of society and its institutions, not in a vacuum. We pledge to build companies and technologies that are consistent with the health of core societal institutions, including functioning governments, respectful discourse, a free press, the just application of law, and free and fair elections.

Finally, we will apply these values through inclusive iteration and a process of deep collaboration among working groups of investors, employees, customers, communities and other stakeholders, building a roadmap for substantive transparency and accountability within the next year. We will develop systems that embrace a regular and deliberate review and revision of approaches over time as new technologies emerge. This will enable us to fulfill the promise of responsible innovation and to succeed in delivering the benefits of new technologies to business and society, and to future generations. 

Charter Members

AVAANA CAPITAL
BASE10 PARTNERS
BESSEMER VENTURE PARTNERS
BREYER CAPITAL
CITYBLOCK HEALTH
COWBOY VENTURES
CRV
DCVC
DESIGNER FUND
DETECT
ELEMY
ELEVATE K-12
ENERGIZE VENTURES
EVOLV TECHNOLOGY
GALVANIZE CLIMATE SOLUTIONS
GENERAL CATALYST
GENERATION INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT
GRAMMARLY
GUILD EDUCATION
GUSTO
HALL CAPITAL PARTNERS
HUMAN CAPITAL
KHOSLA VENTURES

KINNEVIK
KNIGHTSBRIDGE ADVISERS
LUX CAPITAL
MATCHSTICK VENTURES
MULTITUDES
NORWEST VENTURE PARTNERS
ONETEN
OXFORD UNIVERSITY ENDOWMENT MANAGEMENT
PIONEER SQUARE LABS
PRINCETON UNIVERSITY INVESTMENT COMPANY
RO
SAMSARA
SANDS CAPITAL
SAPPHIRE VENTURES
SLAUSON & CO
SQUARE PEG
THRIVE CAPITAL
TRANSCARENT
VILLAGE GLOBAL
VINTAGE INVESTMENT PARTNERS
WARBY PARKER
7WIRE VENTURES

Join this movement:

If you're interested in becoming a member of RILabs, please get in touch or email us at hello[at]rilabs.org so we can talk.

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Companies and investors:  Partner with us to develop actionable tools and standards.
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Open roles: Managing Director of Diversity. You can also join our talent pool.
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Tech veterans and experts:  Give back and build projects with a purpose in Responsibility Rotations.
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