Engineering Design Research Lab (EDRL), Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology
Social impacts are defined as the consequences that activities along a product’s lifecycle (different stages along the product’s existence) have on human well-being. Social impacts are evaluated using methodologies known as Social Impact Assessments (SIA). Although useful, current methods have inherent challenges that reduce the ability of the public and private sector to apply them effectively. A novel framework is developed to assist users in overcoming these challenges. The development of this novel framework consists of three tasks. The first task involves a systematic mapping of the SIA field. This mapping provides an overview of the methodologies used in SIA and reveals recurrent challenges involved in their implementation. In the second task, a novel framework to tackle the identified challenges is developed. The framework is honed using input from the systematic mapping process, student and expert feedback, and case study applications. The third task will combine engineering design methods with the novel SIA framework. The goal is to incorporate social impact information into the design process to support decision making during the product design process to reduce the harmful potential impacts of products on human wellbeing.