STS-inspired design to meet the challenges of modern ageing. Welfare technology as a tool to promote user driven innovations or another way to keep older users hostage?

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Abstract

Abstract
Older technology users and their integration into IT society have been on the research agenda since digitalization took off. Given the attempts to develop user-driven design, it is surprising that the appearance of technologies older people are provided with, or are the target group for, have not progressed. Now another political agenda, coined as “welfare technology”, is being launched in Scandinavia. It is the reminiscent of previous arguments for why demographics, welfare and the need for new business arenas should be prioritized. This paper argues that STS-inspired design can contribute to a paradigm shift that breaks this trend and instead helps to develop proactive technology that meets the needs and demands of today's senior citizens. Two cases illustrate the way the imbalance between technology and older people's influence persists over time. Another three cases with a bearing on design sciences are singled out and discussed: the selection of older subjects; the understanding of the “social” in going from the laboratory to real-life settings; and the “making of meaning” in product development. The conclusions point to the opportunity to bridge the imbalance when introducing welfare technology by introducing STS-inspired reflections on engineering and design.

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Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-90
JournalTechnological Forecasting & Social Change
Volume93
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

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