Co-Evolve Technology and Social Structure

Method Overview

Co-evolve Technology and Social Structure is a method that encourages designers to engage with both the technological and socio-structural implications in their design space. The end goal is to ensure that the technical design is not considered in isolation with their socio-structural impact. Examples of social structures designers can investigate while developing social systems include policy, law, social norms, organizational practices, regulations, and other systems. 

Getting Started

Principles: (from the academic book by Friedman and Hendry):

  • Determine the social structure that will be impacted by the technology being designed.
  • Identify the values to be investigated
  • Conduct a two-pronged design approach to pay attention to both the design of the technology and the potential socio-structural impact of the technology being designed on their intended users.

Example Practice:

  • Knowledge base system: Developed a knowledge based and code repository groupware system in tandem with organizational policies for incentivizing software employee’s contributions to the system” (Miller et al., 2007).
  • Privacy in an open-source, location-aware system: “Working with a large technology corporation, developed a legal addendum to an open-source license that preserves user privacy attributes” (Friedman et al., 2006).

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