Some systems are meant to last for decades...

What design strategies can we use to deal with value change?

Some systems are meant to last for decades...

How do we design them now so that they also meet the values of our (grand)children?

Some systems are meant to last for decades...

Can we enhance the ability of socio-technical systems to adapt to value change?

Designing for Changing Values

How to Deal with Value Change in Sociotechnical System Design

Not value neutral

A key insight from philosophy of technology is that technological artifacts and sociotechnical systems are not value neutral, but support or inhibit certain values. Several philosophical accounts for understanding the embedding of values in technological artifacts have been proposed and approaches like Value Sensitive Design, Design for Values and Responsible Innovation have been established for integrating values into technical design.

A theoretical blind spot

A blind spot is, however, the possibility of value change after a sociotechnical system has been designed. For example, when many of our current energy and transportation systems were designed sustainability was not yet a central value, and we are now struggling to incorporate this value into these systems. Progress in the field is currently inhibited by the lack of a philosophical theory of value change in sociotechnical systems.


Better design strategies

This project fills the gap by developing such a theory. It moves beyond the state of the art by proposing a dynamic rather than a static account of values, by developing insights in the dynamics of value change, by extending analysis about the embedding of values in technical artefacts to sociotechnical systems and by developing design strategies that aim at designing sociotechnical systems that can better deal with value change.


Recent Project News

How to deal with value change as a designer/engineer? Read it in our white paper

How to deal with value change as a designer/engineer? Read it in our white paper

Designing for values – like well-being, justice and transparency – has been gaining increasing popularity in the past decades. But here is a fundamental challenge: although values are relatively stable, they do sometimes change over time. What types of value change exist, and how can engineers and designers deal with them? These are the main questions that we address in a white paper.

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Set-up of the project

Research Lines

Within our project we pursue six research lines: