Four fundamental themes are central to the activities of the Delft Design for Values Institute. On this page we share some resources to learn more on each of these themes (page still under construction, more info will be added in the course of 2019).

1. Value Operationalization

To design for values designers should be able to translate values into technological norms and design requirements. For values that have for long been adopted in technology, such as efficiency and safety, designers have sufficient tools and practices for making this translation. For values that more recently became accepted, such as sustainability and inclusiveness, such tools and practices are becoming increasingly available too. For newer values, such as privacy and autonomy, research needs to be done about how to translate them into norms and design requirements.

Lecture by Prof. dr. Ibo van de Poel, 4 december 2018

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2. Value Conflicts

Designers have ample methods for addressing conflicts between technical design requirements, as say between costs and safety measures in road design. Within design for values, designers should also be able to resolve such conflicts on the level of values, as when, for instance, the way in which we given meaning to privacy of personal medical records conflicts with making those records available for epidemiological analyses as part of our effort to realise health. Methods for dealing with such value conflicts should be developed in a way that they can be taught to future designers.

Prof. Jeroen van den Hoven on how innovative design solves value conflicts

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3. Value Dynamics

In the case of more long-lasting products and technologies, such as buildings and infrastructure, design for values will be confronted with the phenomena that new values may emerge in society and that existing values may change their meaning for users. Think of the value of sustainability in architecture and the value of trust in the context of internet services. Research should make these value dynamics understandable and provide ways to anticipate to it in design for values.

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4. Value Assessment

To demonstrate that design for values is possible, tools should be developed to assess if a design that is meant to realise certain values X, Y and Z is indeed meeting that goal. Also such designs should make transparent to users and society that they are meant to realise the values X, Y and Z. An option is to start an ethics lab to test design for values and carry out the value assessments with users.

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