Technological innovation is a genuinely social process: people matter. New technologies are made, used, adjusted and maintained by people. Conversely, technologies are shaping people, the economy, politics, world views, as well as moral and cultural norms in society.
Technologies and societies coevolve, currently, in the past, and in the future. The way that energy transition takes place is important for us citizens because it shapes our future in many ways. This future is about secure, sustainable, competitive and affordable energy. Citizens play an immensely central role in the energy transition in their different capacities. This CuriousU course offers insight into understanding technological infrastructures, citizens and energy transitions and builds on the synergies between them.
The role of citizens in socio-technical innovations and their governance will remain a central focus, and we will specifically look into the domains of energy, health, and digital infrastructures, comparing them with each other. The course will start with an introduction to the topic of innovation, social change and governance by international scholars, providing a theoretical and practical background to the topics discussed in this course.
During the 10 day programme of the summer school, the course will take a closer look at the impact of technologies on citizens and vice versa. It will also include discussions on how citizens can become involved in larger technological transitions. In the second week, the main focus will be energy transitions and the role of relevant stakeholders. We will also dive into how the digitalization of the energy sector is affecting energy consumption, renewable energy production and consumption, and consumer acceptability.
In the form of lectures and hands-on exercises, participants of this course will learn how to understand, assess and shape such socio-technical dynamics. For this, we have organized speakers from diverse disciplinary backgrounds and with different perspectives to offer a broad range of topics. The course is taught by an enthusiast team of governance and innovation scholars, philosophers, and historians from the University of Twente, complemented by international guest lecturers from practice and science. After you have engaged in the intensive study and debate we offer, you will have a clearer view on the options and limitations of the conscious and responsible shaping of technology in society, on the difficulties of disrupting established socio-technical structures and how historical dynamics influence today’s choices.
The course is divided in three larger sections:
- Understanding socio-technical change: Introduction courses
- Assessing socio-technical change: Case studies & analytical reflection
- Shaping socio-technical change: A practitioner’s perspective
- Introduction to the fields of governance and innovation studies from sociological, philosophical and historical perspectives.
- To be able to analyse and interpret socio-technical change as a complex and emergent process in current societies.
- Understand and discuss core analytical concepts (e.g. co-evolution, socio-technical systems).
- To contribute to shaping socio-technical processes and designing them responsibly.
- In our lectures, we work with exercises on concrete examples from the fields of information technology, energy infrastructures, data science and health. Through these, participants will discuss and get acquainted with core analytical concepts.
- Participants will learn how to contribute to shaping socio-technical processes and designing them responsibly through constructive technology assessment exercises (CTA). In these sessions, students will learn how to shape the course of new technologies in an early phase of their development.
- Participants will get in touch with renowned governance, ethics, and innovation scholars from the University of Twente and from their international network.
- The course is rounded off with a 2-page reflective report and an interactive wrap-up session. More details about the final assignment will be announced during the first meeting. The course allows students to learn from and debate with a careful selection of renowned governance and innovation scholars. Taken together the course gives a deep insight into a vibrant field of study and practice.
The course is designed for everyone who is interested in learning more about the complexities and challenges of socio-technical change. No prior knowledge in the field is necessary.