Product-service system design: a synthesis approach

Date: 12 September 2019

Venue: UAntwerpen - Campus Mutsaard - Productontwikkeling - Ambtmanstraat 1 - 2000 Antwerpen

Time: 10:30 AM

PhD candidate: Ivo Dewit

Principal investigator: Prof. dr. Alexis Jacoby en Prof. dr. Paul Matthyssens

Short description: Doctoraatsverdediging Ivo Dewit - Faculteit Ontwerpwetenschappen


Every day, technological changes, social issues, the environment and well-being challenge business and governments worldwide, so that user expectations and the new normal evolve faster and faster. Organizations cannot help but follow this evolution and are forced to adapt and explore new avenues for innovation through the design and development of product-service systems (PSS). PSS makes it possible to design new systems and explore innovative interactions between consumers, their experience with new product-service combinations and their providers. With the synthesis approach (integration of product and service), we focus on a few foci in this study. In addition to exploitation, the exploration of new possibilities in designing PSS is crucial for the survival and development of organizations in the long term. This exploration must be done in the early stages of innovation (FEI). Finally, and in contrast to predominantly economic or ecological motives, we focus in this study on the experience of the user as a distinguishing factor, its importance and meaning in their lives.

This design research is about products and services merging, and exploring new systems emerging. Based on design research as a research strategy, this dissertation focuses on an integrated approach to designing PSS. With this we define a PSS logic and associated preconditions (relevant regulations) to support the design process, and create a PSS design toolkit (usable approach) to enable the synthesis between product and service, instead of maintaining the dichotomy.

The resulting PSS design toolkit integrates human centered design, interaction design, and systems thinking in one methodology and takes its user (s) through three phases. The first phase serves to understand the context and to determine the goal, a second phase to conceive and develop new products, services and systems to the level of a final concept, and a third phase to simulate the scenario, relevant to and in the context of the user. Each step in the PSS design process is intended to motivate activity, which in turn will generate new goals and situations, and each time offers a new starting point for the design. With an emphasis on context, interrelationships and the whole, we prepare future generations of designers for challenges associated with the design of product-service systems.