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The meta-design of socio-technical systems (STSs) is an approach which complies with the need of integrating two different types of structures and processes: technical systems which are engineered to provide anticipatable and reliable interactions between users and systems and social systems which are contingent in their interactions and a subject of evolution. Meta-design is focused on objectives, techniques, and processes to allow users to act as designers. In doing so, it does not provide fixed solutions but a framework within which all stakeholders (designers and users) can contribute to the development of technical functionality and the evolution of the social side such as organizational change, knowledge construction, and continuous learning.
This paper describes the possibilities of transforming and enriching the design and use of STSs grounded in the conceptual framework of meta-design. It explores cultures of participation, seeding, evolutionary growth and reseeding, and underdesign as specific components of the framework. Two specific examples of meta-designed STSs illustrate the conceptual framework, and findings derived from the assessment of these developments in practice are briefly discussed. Based on the combination of conceptual and methodological consideration, initial guidelines for the meta-design of STSs are derived.
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