Why Design for Values?
We distinguishes three main interaction mechanisms between design and values, or three reasons to design for values:
1. Mitigation of value failures of design
New technologies can be rejected by users or society because of mismatches between the values the technologies embody and the values users or society hold; by design for values such mismatches can be anticipated and avoided.
2. Embodiment of values in design
Designers consciously or unconsciously incorporate moral and social values into their designs – doing this more consciously and better improves products, services and systems.
3. Generation of values through design
Design can have an impact on the values of users and society, and can thus deliberately be used to generate or stimulate certain values.
In meeting the social, political and environmental challenges of the 21st century, the development of new technologies will play a central role. These developments are characterized by an increasing speed and complexity. The urgency of some of the 21st-century challenges require rapid responses, the number of challenges require parallel technological responses, and the rise and acknowledgement of multiple stakeholders make that responses are not only technologically but also socially complex. People will therefore be confronted by rapid and publicly discussed technological developments that acquire the character of quick interventions rather than planned and slowly enfolding possibilities. The risk of societal rejection of these developments is therefore realistic.
Moral and social values
Our vision is that technological developments in the 21st century, whether necessary to meet our challenges or made possible through new breakthroughs, only become acceptable when they are designed for the moral and social values people hold. For governing these developments successfully, setting longer term policy and research goals and organizing public debates will be instrumental yet not be sufficient. By the rapid and parallel occurrence of technological developments, governance needs to be complemented by mechanisms that guide technological developments while they unfold.