Value Sensitive Design of Complex Product Systems

Authors: Andreas Ligtvoet, Geerten van de Kaa, Theo Fens, Cees van Beers, Paulier Herder and Jeroen van den Hoven, Delft University of Technology


We increasingly understand technical artefacts as components of complex product systems. These systems are designed, built, maintained, and deprecated by stakeholders with different interests. To maintain interoperability between components, standards are being developed. The standardisation process itself is, however, also influenced by different stakeholders. In this chapter, we argue that a full, comprehensive overview of all relevant components of a system is increasingly difficult. The natural response to complex problems is to delve into details. We suggest that an opposite move towards a more abstract approach can be fruitful. We illustrate this by describing the development of smart meters in the Netherlands. A more explicit focus on the values that play a role for different stakeholders may avoid fruitless detours in the development of technologies. Policymakers would do well by not only addressing functional requirements but also taking individual and social values into consideration.


Berlin et al: Springer Verlag


Ligtvoet A., van de Kaa G., Fens T., van Beers C., Herder P. & van den Hoven J. (2015). Value Sensitive Design of Complex Product Systems. In: M. Janssen, M. A. Wimmer, & A. Deljoo, Policy Practice and Digital Science – Integrating Complex Systems, Social Simulation and Public Administration in Policy Research (Series: Public Administration and Information Technology). Berlin et al: Springer Verlag (to appear)