Research program:
Social Value of Innovation
and Business for a KAITEKI Future

The Social Value of Innovation and Business for a KAITEKI Future Research Program generates insights about social values to help companies orient their innovation and growth to what people will care about in the future. Our motivation is to create knowledge and tools for innovation in science and technology that contributes lasting value to society, as publics, governments, and businesses have increasingly signaled that market success and profit are no longer sufficient for differentiation and success in our global marketplace. Our objectives are to:

  1. Provide businesses with a user-friendly Toolkit for articulating future social values
  2. Develop a Future Social Value Observatory that identifies relevant scenarios for the social scientific analyses in the Future Social Value Toolkit
  3. Build a KAITEKI Future by assessing future social values and targeting sustainable new product lines to meet people’s future needs with an ever-increasing quality of life

Accomplishments to date include our scenario publication in Futures, draft structure and content for the Future Social Value Toolkit, and additional program funding from the Knowledge Exchange for Resilience and the Zimin Institute for Smart & Sustainable Cities at Arizona State University. Each research project in this program contributes to the overall goal of producing insights about social values in the future:

  1. Research Project-1: Social Value for a KAITEKI Future defined social value such that it adequately reflects the spirit of demands for social value from society writ-large, and can be measured in the present and future.
  2. Research Project-2: Future Social Values in the Smart Environments of 2050 created alternative, plausible futures for 2050 focused on Aging in Smart Environments, and articulated the Future Social Values that may shape society in 2050.
  3. Research Project-3: Future Social Value Toolkit is a methodology that integrates and sequences all the tools we have developed for defining, articulating, and leveraging future social values.
  4. Research Project 4: Future Social Value Observatory intends to develop processes and tools for continuous monitoring of plausible futures and future social values including automated scraping tools for analysis of scenario studies and social media platforms.

The current status and future prospects for these research projects are as follows:

  1. RP1 culminates in two academic journal articles. One article will define “social value” as a function of human needs, and is under development for anticipated publication in Spring 2022. The other article systematically reviews “social value” in the literature, and is scheduled to be presented for final feedback at the 2021 Society for Social Studies of Science before journal submission to Social Studies of Science in October 2021.
  2. RP2 was completed with the publication of “The future of aging in smart environments: Four scenarios of the United States in 2050” in Futures and the submission of the Future Social Value Landscape report in September 2021.
  3. RP3 will have a complete Toolkit by the end of this Annual Year, and then transition into an ongoing concern for the Research Program, with revisions and polishing as necessary.
  4. RP4 has been developed in conversation with The KAITEKI Institute and remains a future prospect at this time. We intend to collaborate with TKI on the development and ongoing operation of the Observatory to facilitate articulation of future social values across contexts with reduced time and labor requirements.

Research project II.1: Social Value for a KAITEKI Future

This research project defined “social value” to facilitate a concrete framework and methodology for identification and quantification of future and present social values.

A social value is a justifiable claim about what is important to a group of people, informed by an understanding of what people must have and do, and how they must be and interact, to satisfy human needs. A social value landscape collects and details the social values in group of people.

This definition of social value, and its expansion on the work of Manfred Max Neef’s human needs framework, will be detailed in a peer reviewed journal article, scheduled for submission in Spring 2022. This definition set up key methodological work and pointed to the long-term potential for observing social values across a range of populations and geographies. Defining social value also revealed a vital need to expand beyond partnerships in guiding corporate action for societal benefit. Businesses must enable publics to guide discovery and innovation for their products to find markets. These insights supported a definition of social value as satisfaction of human needs, occurring within sustainability boundary conditions.

To establish such boundary conditions, we reviewed S-ROI and sustainability reporting and assessment frameworks (e.g., SDG, LEED, B Corporation, OECD, and SA800, SASB, GRI, Future Fit Business Benchmark, Dow Jones Sustainability Index, Social and Human Capital Protocol, and European Commission Sustainability Taxonomy). These analyses enable us to strategically position our social value work among competing accounting mechanisms. Operating within such frameworks, company commitment to social value creation would involve iterative processes, relationships, and innovation to satisfy human needs. Based on this definition and operationalization, any attempt at business management for social value would:

As reported in the first quarter of this project, current MCHC efforts display these characteristics, and support KAITEKI experiments to demonstrate the social value of products and services. Social value insights derived from such experiments could then inform business planning and decision-making. Social-value-driven innovation for future business could dramatically distinguish a KAITEKI approach in the business landscape and, we believe, improve the value of company activities to society, shareholders, stakeholders, employees, and communities.

The other major accomplishment of this research project will be a systematic academic literature review article detailing how “social value” is defined and used in over 275 articles in fields ranging from business, economics, and social psychology to sustainability, tourism, film and media, and Black studies. This article will place our argument, for a social value definition inspired by human need satisfaction in alignment with KAITEKI, into the academic literature. This product is scheduled to be presented at this year’s Society for Social Studies of Science conference, and thereafter revised (based on feedback provided at the conference) and submitted to.

Research project II.2: Future Social Values in the Smart Environments of 2050

This research project used a participatory, intuitive logics approach to design and implement a scenario workshop on The Future of Aging in Smart Environments (in the United States in 2050). A non-probability, purposive sampling strategy identified experts who helped develop the scenarios, which were drafted over two days in January 2020. The workshop itself gathered representatives from medicine, gerontology, public health, AI, robotics, science and technology studies, science fiction, chemistry, business, and journalism, as well as youth representatives, who together developed the scenarios’ drivers, axes, features, and initial narrative descriptions.

Four scenarios were produced in the workshop, using axes of individual choice about technology and social integration: 1) Well Assisted; 2) How Terribly Strange to Be 90; 3) Live Free & Die Free, and; 4) Final Nesting Place. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, subsequent work to use the scenarios to identify, quantify, and visualize future social values shifted away from public, in-person workshop settings. This pivot led our research team to interrogate the scenarios ourselves, applying the existential modes from our human needs framework to the scenarios to develop contextualized responses to scenario content. These responses have been iteratively coded and categorized, leading to a future social value landscape of 23 future social values for the future of aging in smart environments in 2050 in the US.

Pivoting from in-person scenario workshops to generate scenario responses had the unintended effect of shifting the methodology we developed from a mechanism of generating and analyzing primary data to separate mechanisms for generating primary data and analyzing secondary data. This separation has resulted in three products related to future social values. The first product is the scenarios of aging in the smart environments of 2050. The second is the scenario workshop methodology as a tool for eliciting future social values. And the third product is an analytical process for identifying future social values in existing scenario studies, based on our human needs-based definition of social value, which is applicable to future-oriented scenarios generated for any purpose and by any author.

Graphical user interface, text, application, email

Description automatically generatedThe primary accomplishment of this research project to date is the publication of “The Future of Aging in Smart Environments: Four Scenarios of the United States in 2050” in Futures. The remaining product from this research project is the future social value landscape of 23 future social values based on those scenarios, scheduled for presentation to TKI in October 2021.

Looking forward, our scenario workshop methodology could facilitate targeted scenarios for companies interested in future social values around a certain problem or product line. We could then analyze the scenarios produced to deliver a future social value landscape for that intended context. Alternatively, if scenarios produced by other organizations or institutions are methodologically robust, publicly available, and relevant to a certain problem, or product line, the same analytical framework could be applied to glean future social values from scenarios produced external to our research program. This lays the methodological foundation for automating key aspects of the analysis of relevant scenarios for ongoing future social value monitoring by our research team in the Future Social Value Observatory.

Research project II.3: Future Social Value Toolkit

The Future Social Value Toolkit is a collection of simple, accessible, and user-friendly resources that facilitate production of future social value profiles and landscapes, at a reasonable cost. It contains all the necessary information to:

  1. Design and implement a scenario workshop on a topic of one’s choosing
  2. Evaluate the suitability of scenarios produced outside this research program for analysis
  3. Analyze scenarios produced by workshops or externally
  4. Articulate a Future Social Value Landscape with quantitative rankings of its social values

The workshop-based process of producing future social values with the Toolkit begins with selecting a topical focus, for example, The Future of Ageing in Smart Environments (FASE). With a selected topic, workshop preparation and participant recruitment can begin. Workshop implementation follows, producing four robust scenarios for social scientific analysis. That analysis remains the same for either internally or externally generated scenarios, with researchers creating responses to each scenario across all four existential modes for each of nine human needs.

Responses are then iteratively clustered and examined to articulate Future Social Value Profiles within the context of the scenario set. Clusters are reviewed, named, and reconstituted as necessary until clearly delineated future social values are determined. Future Social Value Profiles include title, description, and analysis based on scenario saturation, need distribution, and satisfaction vs dissatisfaction. Together, a set of future social value profiles is the primary component of a Future Social Value Landscape.

Within such a Landscape, values can be compared with quantitative metrics. Values emergent from all analyzed scenarios are higher ranked than values emergent from fewer scenarios. Similarly, values addressing all nine needs are higher ranked than those incorporating a subset of needs. Values constituted of more need statements are also higher ranked than those made up of less need statements. The Landscape’s introduction and conclusion lay out relevant context for the future social values, and discuss their interrelationships, adherence to sustainability criteria, and potential contributions to a KAITEKI future.

Accomplishments of this work to date include pilot testing Toolkit analyses on the data collected with the Present Social Value Interview Protocol, completing Toolkit analyses on the FASE scenarios, drafting the FASE Future Social Value Profiles and Landscape, and outlining each of these methodological pieces, and how they fit together, in the visual Toolkit outline.

The primary product of this research project will be the Toolkit (based on the outline shared with TKI in our June 2021 Quarterly Presentation). It will be designed for ease-of-use, with academic jargon removed, and an international audience in mind. We will work with a graphic designer to ensure that the Toolkit’s information design supports smooth deployment, analysis, and framing of results. Upon completion, the Future Social Value Toolkit will be ready for optimization, and deployment by TKI to gather Future Social Values at which to aim product development and market research for building a KAITEKI future.

Research project II.4: Future Social Value Observatory

The future is uncertain, but also responsive to trends, decisions, and behaviors in the present. In partnership with TKI, this research program will apply Toolkit methodologies to derive insights about the future, with intentions to apply, iterate, and scale those methods to articulate future social values to businesses, so that they can target their product research and development for optimal contributions to a KAITEKI future.

         This prospective “Observatory” research would identify and quantify plausible future social values through the lens of scenarios. Reputable scenarios produced with rigorous methods (e.g. the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the European Network for Transmission System Operators Electricity, or the Stanford Energy Modeling Forum Japan Model Intercomparison Project) would be assessed based on inclusion criteria. Those meeting the criteria will be collected in an annotated “menu” of existing scenarios that have the potential to be analyzed for the production of Future Social Value Landscapes targeted where businesses want more context for making decisions about their products and research.

Potential observatory partners would meet with our research team to define a prospective Landscape. Early Landscape discussions will be framed with the example Landscape produced for the FASE scenarios, to help partners understand the product and how it might meet their needs. These meetings would also include budget, timeline, the overarching focus area, specific relevant content, potential participants (and their roles), and intended use value. At the conclusion of these early engagements, partners would choose to either select scenario(s) from the annotated menu (less flexibility and targeting, but faster) or design and implement a scenario workshop of their own (more flexibility and targeting, but slower).

For partners choosing to create their own scenario workshop, key inputs would include a very clear definition of the space targeted for the landscape (e.g. geography and timing), desired invitees, and hosting considerations (remote/in-person, costs of attendance, etc.). Although this time spent producing scenarios delays outputs (compared with selecting scenario(s) from the “menu”), those outputs seem likely to be more nuanced and contextualized within the overarching frame, as, for example, the FASE scenarios in the US in 2050.

Partners choosing to continue the process by selecting scenarios from the “menu” for analysis would do so understanding that the scenarios may have been developed for one purpose, but that our analysis methodology can be tailored to extract their targeted Future Social Value Landscape. Although this method would have less correspondence to the overarching focus area, we anticipate that it would require meaningfully less time and resources to complete, and thereby be an attractive option, especially for new partners’ first Landscapes.

We hope to explore this Observatory with TKI, producing relevant insights about future social value for MCHC, with the potential to settle into a cadence of bi-decadal in-house scenario workshops informed by annual secondary scenario analyses.


Research personnel


  1. Books, Monographs, White Papers, Technical Reports
  2. Bernstein MJ. 2019. The MCHC Group and KAITEKI: Current State Analysis for Research Advancement. Tempe, Arizona: Arizona State University School for the Future of Innovation in Society, Global Futures Laboratory, and The Global KAITEKI Center. Internal Team Report.
  3. Keeler LW, Bernstein MJ. 2019. The Future of Ageing in Smart Environments: Scenario Workshop Participant Information Packet. Tempe, Arizona: Arizona State University School for the Future of Innovation in Society, Global Futures Laboratory, and The Global KAITEKI Center. 35 pages.
  4. Bernstein MJ, Keeler LW. 2020. The Management for Social Value: Towards Visualizing and Quantifying Current and Future Social Value with the KAITEKI Company. Tempe, Arizona: Arizona State University School for the Future of Innovation in Society, Global Futures Laboratory, and The Global KAITEKI Center. Progress report.
  5. Keeler LW, Bernstein MJ. 2020. The Future of Ageing in Smart Environments: Scenarios of 2050. Tempe, Arizona: Arizona State University School for the Future of Innovation in Society, Global Futures Laboratory, and The Global KAITEKI Center. Workshop Report. 
  6. Bernstein MJ, Wang J, Bevaresh SA, Keeler LW, Basile G. 2021. Social Value in Sustainability Assessment and Reporting. Tempe, Arizona: Arizona State University School for the Future of Innovation in Society, Global Futures Laboratory, and The Global KAITEKI Center. Draft technical report.

Workshops, webinars and seminars: