Value Sensitive Design of Complex Product Systems

  • Andreas LigtvoetEmail author
  • Geerten van de Kaa
  • Theo Fens
  • Cees van Beers
  • Paulier Herder
  • Jeroen van den Hoven
Part of the Public Administration and Information Technology book series (PAIT, volume 10)


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.


Smart Grid Economic Affair Grid Operator International Electrotechnical Commission Technological Artefact 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This research was supported by Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) grant MVI-12-E02 on responsible innovation (“maatschappelijk verantwoord innoveren”). We are indebted to our valorisation committee (Gertjan van den Akker, Theo Borst, Johan Crols, Michiel Karskens, Gerrit Rietveld, Rick van der Tol, and Gerritjan Valk) for their insight and comments. We would also like to thank our interviewees: Johan Boekema, Coco Geluk, Tjakko Kruit, Erik Linschoten, Willem Strabbing, Jeike Wallinga, and Teus de Zwart.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas Ligtvoet
    • 1
    Email author
  • Geerten van de Kaa
    • 1
  • Theo Fens
    • 1
  • Cees van Beers
    • 1
  • Paulier Herder
    • 1
  • Jeroen van den Hoven
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Technology, Policy, and ManagementDelft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands

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