What is the future socio-technical sub-system and its functions?

The advantage of looking at socio-technical systems is that the co-evolution of technology and society, of form and function becomes the focus of attention. Dynamics in socio-technical systems involve a dynamic process of mutual adaptation and feedbacks between technology and user environment.(Geels 2004)


The technologies that are prevailing within the sociotechnical sub-system of health and happiness apply to the technological innovations regarding sustainability. Health and happiness has to do with certain values of a society and to what extent those values are met. These can be values regarding, sustainability, amount of green, reputation, wealth, living space, income etc. Technologies, which are related to these values, are, green energy, (sustainable) construction and modeling future cases.


In order to make Texel become a healthy and happy society we need the Texelaars to be aware of the technologies that are prevailing in reaching this goal. When the Texelaar knows how they can bring about this change towards health and happiness by using available technologies in an adequate way, the Texelaar will feel more involved in the process. And this will empower them to contribute.

Here the civilian is probably the actor that needs to be empowered. This empowerment will be motivated by actions of the government, institutions and companies offering the technologies needed.

The government wants the people to be healthy and happy because for example they want to win elections (at certain moments) and they want to keep the people satisfied to keep the system running and prevent protests. For the same reasons, they want the people to lead a healthy and long life.

An institution governs the behavior of individuals within a community. That is why it is needed to be able to monitor behaviors and actions of the people in order to take actions in extreme circumstances.

Companies’ main goal is, generally, to have a high turnover. Therefore the companies which offer the services and technologies which prevail in this subsystem benefit from changing values towards a more sustainable and green environment in order to have a healthy and happy life. Whilst other companies will either prevent this change and disempower the people in order to keep their business running. Or they will have to invest in R&D and innovate to keep up with changing values.


This shows us that all the actors are interrelated in a certain why. We would like to think of it as a closed loop, probably even an outer loop and an inner loop with a center. The center being an institution monitor en showcasing changing situations regarding climate and technology. The inner loop being the values which are given to the existence/quality of this facility. And the outer loop illustrates the facilities which are needed for the people to lead a healthy and happy life, such as schools, hospitals, parks, shopping malls.

In this way we can show how the center, the monitoring/showcasing platform, has a  ‘Doppler’ effect on the values of the people. Which is needed in order to empower the people to participate in development and change needed to reach the motivation to contribute towards for example, better education, more hospitals, more green and more shopping facilities to diminish time spent in commute.




How are the elements in the system interrelated?

At this moment the government is positions itself very distant from the people. If the government wants to have an effect on individual behavior of the people it needs to address the individuals directly but also the organizations standing in between. The government can for example hardly influence the consumption of unhealthy food. But the government can make unhealthy food more expensive with taxes to influence this behavior.

Then there are a lot of other factors which influence the behavior of individuals on a individual, social and physical level.

Individual: people behave according to their opinion

Social: awareness of the opinion of others influence our actions

Physical: the way we perceive the environment influences our behavior.(Berveling, Derriks et al. 2011)


Image for current sub system





Berveling, J., et al. (2011). Gedrag en beleid, Ministerie van Infrastructuur en Milieu.


Geels, F. W. (2004). From sectoral systems of innovation to socio-technical systems. Elsevier. Eindhoven.


Pieter van Hall , Tiwanee van der Horst

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