Learn how to include ethical and societal values into the design of new technologies or products, and ensure a strategic win-win outcome for both society and your organization.
Decisions made by engineers during the design of products and technologies are not only technical in nature. This course will provide you with the knowledge and tools to include ethical and societal values - such as sustainability, safety, privacy and fairness - into the design of new products and technologies. You will learn about the influence of values in design processes, explore how values can be investigated, and use tools to translate those values into design requirements.
As a result, you will be able to engineer a win-win situation in which your organization may become more successful because your innovations will prove more easily acceptable and society will benefit from the greater attention paid to public values.
Analyze your own cases and receive personalized feedback
Through a combination of short online lectures given by design and innovation experts, practical exercises, webinars and individualized feedback, you will learn the concept and principles of Design for Values and how to use this approach effectively for your organization's innovation strategy and societal responsibilities. Through the assignments in this course, you will be able to analyze your own cases and examples, and apply the course materials and tools to your own design practices. Instructors with outstanding track records in Philosophy of Technology and Design for Values will provide personalized feedback drawing on their expertise as well as their long-term collaborations with engineers and designers.
By the end of this course, you will be able to:
- Critically scrutinize your product design to identify and address ethical issues that your products may give rise to.
- Translate values into design requirements using the 'values hierarchy'.
- Apply 'design for values' as a way to systematically integrate ethical and societal values (such as sustainability, safety, equity and privacy) into the design of your own technology or projects.
- Recognize how values play a role in design processes and identify the different stakeholders involved.
- Make better decisions in the design process of socially acceptable products and technologies.
- Recognize value conflicts in design -even if or after values have been built into them- and develop strategies to overcome them.
- Improve your ability to communicate the choices you make in your design in terms of underlying values.
Examples from industries
Practical examples in this course are drawn from industries like IT, chemicals and textiles to show that multiple values can be met through design. A striking and very successful example of a product meeting conflicting values is 'GreenFreeze'. The coolant has now been taken up by major manufacturers and is a huge commercial success. Compared to other coolants it is both safe and environmental friendly, and still very efficient.
Benefits for companies
Why are companies investing or should invest in the ethical value of their products? Organizations can benefit from the application of value-sensitive-design in multiple ways. They can, for instance:
- Improve chances of commercial success and increase investors' confidence by making innovations more socially acceptable.
- Prevent legal future problems and reduce the risks of negative financial implications caused by bad publicity. Risks potentially associated with the use of new technologies can be prevented if they are properly assessed and addressed during the product design process.
- Retain or attract new customers by using sale arguments based on the benefits of integrated values (such as safety, sustainability, fairness, equity, privacy, etc.). Using these values as part of your marketing strategy can help define your unique selling proposition.
- Improve Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies.
- Strengthen brand reputational value and reinforce leadership and position in the industry by showing commitment to ethical business practices and contributions to the community and the development of the industry.
Your Learning Platform
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This course is part of TU Delft's comprehensive engineering approach, which combines insights from the engineering sciences with insights from the humanities and the social sciences in order to solve the grand challenges of today's complex and rapidly changing world.
This course will equip engineers with crucial 21st century skills and knowledge needed to deal with today's pressing societal concerns and ethical dilemmas on a practical level: from issues about safety or sustainability to artificial intelligence and privacy. Join us and become a leader and change-maker in your field. Develop strong operational capabilities for creative thinking, leadership and decision making that are required to innovate, lead and solve complex projects successfully.
Week 1: Introduction to Design for Values
In this week, you will get an introduction into the history and methodology of Design for Values, as well as exploring the ways in which ethical values influence design processes.
Week 2: Investigation into values
This week we will discuss different ways of investigating values; conceptual, empirical and technical. You will make your own plan for value research.
Week 3: Weighing values
This week will discuss 'the values hierarchy', a tool for translating values into design requirements. We will then discuss how to deal with value conflicts.
Week 4 and 5: Integration assignment
In these weeks, you will independently integrate the lessons of previous weeks, and work on one case (product, design process or technology) through the 'Design for Values' lens.
Learn from world-class experts and receive personalized feedback throughout the course, either online (via Skype) or during 'face-to-face' meetings if you live in the Netherlands.
Assignments & Assessment
The aim of this course is to put Design for Values into one's own working practice. Therefore, the assignments in this course invite professionals to bring in their own case, and apply the tools and course materials provided to those cases.
Feedback will be provided by the teachers on selected assignments with the aim of deepening understanding of the theory as well as improving its application.
Literature and Study Material
Literature for this course will be provided on the course online platform.
If you successfully complete the course you will earn a Professional Education Certificate and you are eligible to receive 2.5 Continuing Education Units (CEUs).
View sample certificate
Chartered Engineer qualification
This course can be part of your portfolio to meet the formal education requirements required to both obtain and maintain the Chartered Engineer qualification licensed by KIVI. This course can be taken either as part of Initial Professional Development (IPD) or of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) stages. See all our online courses for engineers that correspond to the required competencies determined by KIVI.
This course corresponds to competencies B3 ('Implement design solutions, taking into account critical constraints') and E3 ('Operate and act responsibly, taking into account the need to progress environmental, social and economic outcome simultaneously') determined by KIVI.
This course is primarily geared towards working professionals. Some familiarity with design processes and design thinking is recommended.
In order to complete your admission process you will be asked to upload the following document:
- a copy of your passport or ID card (no driver's license)
If you have any questions about this course or the TU Delft online learning environment, please visit our Help & Support page.