All products have social impact. Some social impacts are commonly recognized by the engineering community, such as impacts to a user’s health and safety, while other social impacts are less recognized, such as impacts on families and gender roles. When engineers make design decisions, without considering social impacts, they can unknowingly cause negative social impacts. Even harming the user and/or society. Despite its challenges, measuring a program’s or policy’s impact is common practice in social sciences. These measurements are made using indicators, which are the things observed to verify that progress is being made. While there are benefits to predicting the social impact of an engineered product, it is unclear how engineers should select indicators and build predictive social impact models that are functions of engineering parameters and decisions. This paper introduces a method for selecting social impact indicators and creating predictive social impact models that can help engineers predict and improve the social impact of their products. First, an engineer identifies the product’s users, objectives, and requirements. Then, the social impact categories related to the product are determined. From each of these categories, the engineer selects social impact indicators. Finally, models are created for each indicator to predict how a product’s parameters change these indicators. The impact categories and indicators can be translated into product requirements and performance measures to be used in product development processes. This method is used to predict the social impact of the U.S. Mexico border wall.
A Method for Creating Product Social Impact Models of Engineered Products
Contributed by the Design Theory and Methodology Committee of ASME for publication in the Journal of Mechanical Design. Manuscript received December 20, 2018; final manuscript received June 21, 2019; published online xx xx, xxxx. Assoc. Editor: Julie Linsey.
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Stevenson, P. D., Mattson, C. A., and Dahlin, E. C. (June 28, 2019). "A Method for Creating Product Social Impact Models of Engineered Products." ASME. J. Mech. Des. doi: https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4044161
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