Workshop “(How) can our digitalized society operate within planetary boundaries?”

Nowadays, the resources and energy necessary to produce and use digital appliances oftentimes countervail the savings they induce. Furthermore, their usage in everyday life may induce additional consumption such as video streaming or online shopping, which also goes along with energy and resource demand. Thus, it currently looks like digitalization might intensify environmental problems, rather than solving them. In this workshop, we want to discuss how digital appliances should be designed to create a more sustainable society.

We do this by applying the concept of sufficiency to the context of digitalization. Such a digital sufficiency encompasses four dimensions:

  1. Technical Sufficiency, implying that devices and software are designed and used in such a manner that they last for a long time, can be extended and tinkered with, but also that their complexity and resource use doesn’t surpass the purpose they are designed for, meaning not to crack a nut with a sledge-hammer;
  2. Data Sufficiency, meaning that software is programmed so that data traffic is as low as possible, respecting privacy as well as minimum energy use;
  3. Promoting Sufficient Lifestyles, entailing that digitalization enables individuals to organize their life in a sufficient manner.
  4. Economic Sufficiency, meaning that digitalization facilitates the transition to decentralized, democratic and post-growth economic structures.

Along these four dimensions of digital sufficiency, we want to address the following questions: What are useful design principles for the four dimensions, and how can they be implemented in practice? How do devices and software need to be designed for longevity? What are software features that reduce data traffic? How exactly can people use digital tools to live sufficiently? And how do we get there? In this participatory workshop, we aim to gather participants from academia as well as from industry to jointly develop the vision of digital sufficiency.


In the workshop we will discuss ideas, findings and proposals that contribute to the vision of digital sufficiency. Participants are invited to send a brief abstract about their interest to and by 15.5.2019. However, participation is also possible without own contributions.


The workshop will take place – in the morning on 15.06.2019 – at LUT University, Yliopistonkatu 34, 53850 Lappeenranta 34. Please register here for participation.


Research Group Digitalization and Sustainability – Technische Universität Berlin, Institute for Ecological Economy Research
University of Zurich – Department of Informatics
The Workshop is part of the ICT4S conference.