PSS Design & Strategic Rollout | Toolkit

The “PSS Design Toolkit”: context of discovery

As part of a PhD by Ivo Dewit, PSS design forms the core of his study. Five years of participatory action research, quantitative (e.g., creativity support index), and foremost qualitative (e.g., surveys, in-depth interviews, literature review) evaluations throughout the design process ultimately resulted in the “PSS Design | Strategic Rollout Toolkit”. As a research means, it has been iteratively built-up alongside the design efforts of first year Product Development Masters students in the “Integrated Systems” course. Supported by product, service and system design agencies (e.g., Namahn, Studio Dott, Shift N, Antwerp Management School - Expertise Centre Business Design & Innovation) industrial companies, service providers and governmental institutions, the design course is now in its fifth year, and has reached 81 projects from 242 students. Each year, these students go through the PSS design process, and are challenged with a different focus, such as 'milestones in life', 'physical and digital traces', ‘tackling obesity’, 'smart city sharing concepts' and ‘life 4.0’.

Workshop on the nexus between service design practice, research and education

The “PSS Strategic Rollout Toolkit: context of discovery

Together with Antwerp Management School, we took a holistic perspective of the firm and examined the internal barriers that companies encounter when upscaling product-service systems. Over the course of eighteen months, we conducted an exploratory study consisting of both multiple case and participatory action research methods with eight local manufacturers that have taken concrete steps towards product-service solutions2. Based on our observations, we identified three barriers that prevent companies from upscaling towards PSS.

First, while companies may show ambition for further growth by improving current PSS offerings, thus unlocking their current PSS potential, they have insufficient knowledge to roll out current PSS. Second, manufacturers often put emphasis on innovating either products or technologies, and treat service as an add-on; they have insufficient experience in an integrated design approach to create new PSS. Third, in companies that are having trouble upscaling PSS, the root of the problem often lies in an unsupportive organisational logic, which prevents the company from successfully creating and implementing integrated PSS.

Our goal was to develop insight into the internal levers for upscaling PSS, and to introduce the “PSS Strategic Rollout Toolkit” to support companies in generating and prioritising PSS-enhancing projects.