Transformative Vision Assessment and 3-D Printing Futures: A New Approach of Technology Assessment to Address Grand Societal Challenges

Christoph Schneider*, Maximilian Roßmann, Andreas Lösch, Armin Grunwald

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Web of Science)


Grand societal challenges (GSCs) are complex phenomena. With technological innovation being often seen as a solution to them, technology assessment (TA) as problem-oriented research practice is challenged to reflexively address the relationship between GSC and technologies. The complexity involved requires that research and innovation are reflexively embedded into societal dynamics from early on. This is an aspect that contemporary innovation governance discourses in TA, "responsible research and innovation " and "anticipatory governance " highlight. This article elaborates the new TA approach of "transformative vision assessment. " It aims to enhance anticipatory competences, reflexivity, and responsibility of actors in science and society through modulating the visions that influence technological development. The approach responds to the dominant visions in public and scientific discourse that promise a technology-driven reorganization of society, e.g., a fourth industrial revolution, and fail to meet the complexity of GSC. Thus, transformative vision assessment analyses technological visions and modulates visionary discourse through adding sociotechnical complexity and fostering dialogue between science and society. This article uses a case study on scalable three-dimensional (3-D) printing to exemplify how visionary communication can be transformed to better address the complexity of GSC, with the focus of the case on 3-D printing and inclusion and sustainability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1089-1098
Number of pages10
JournalIeee Transactions on Engineering Management
Issue number3
Early online date16 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023
Externally publishedYes

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