Technology Impact Cycle Tool

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Example User Story: ‘As a (student) product designer I want to make sure that my new product has the impact as I envision it. I want to eliminate my blind spots.’

Time period: This a best practice for serious design projects. These projects can take from a few weeks to a few years. All this time you want to be supported by the technology impact tool. During the design process students are supported by the tool.

Target audience: product designers, app developers, students that are challenged to solve problems with technology, inventors, innovators and so on.

The Best Practice

The most important questions for any new technology are: what problem are you going to solve? Are you sure you are solving the right problem and are you sure your technology is solving the problem. The first step is therefore to start a new cycle, name your technology, make a short description and start answering and discussing (if you are in a group) the questions in the Full Scan – category impact on society. Discussing these questions are very valuable in the start-up, brainstorm and ideation phases.

When you have a firm idea of what technology is going to solve what problem, do a Quick Scan. After the Quick Scan you know which categories are important and not. During the project you answer all questions in the full scan and every time you make improvements in your design you list them in the last question per category. The idea is that during the project you can constantly cycle between changes in your design and new questions and answers that are structured by the tool. You make sure the online dashboard is up to date so you can see where still work is to be done.

If you work with different teams doing different technologies it is our experience that organizing critical peer review sessions based on the answers in the Full or Quick scan are very insightful and productive.

Example: the technology impact cycle tool has a category called bad actors. We found it very productive to have different teams try to imagine what bad actors can do with someone else’s technology.

A technology impact document: In this best practice we have found that it works very well to have the ‘designers’ craft a complete Technology Impact Cycle Document. This document is evidence of the underlying thought process about the impact of the technology. If you do it very neatly, you can also hand over a canvas with a quick scan and a canvas with an overview of all improvements to complete the technology impact file.

Education: The Designer works really well with technical students that need to integrate a broader perspective in their product and get beyond techno solutionism. A teacher can help them by using the online dashboard and demanding a Technology Impact Cycle Document at the end. At the other end, the tool also works really well with not-so-technical students that want to solve a problem with technology and need to have a broader view of the real impact so they can improve.

Inspiration: Doing the online crashcourses (available from nov 2020) is advisable because they will help you to think about the impact of technology in a more fundamental way. Also, it is advisable to take a look at the sample cycles that we have filled out.

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