A Change in Design Knowledge: From Stand-alone Products to Service Offerings

By Åsa Ericson and Johan Wenngren.

Published by The Technology Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In the manufacturing industry, offering services as the value carrier of the product is becoming a key interest. In short, the product concept changes from something engineered to the provision of “performance in use” in order to fulfill customer needs. This change of paradigm, from an established view of products as nothing else than physical artefacts to the idea of products as service offerings, is commonly described in the research field Product Service Systems (PSS). Examples of expected benefits of PSS for manufacturing companies are that they can: (1) meet the sustainability challenges, (2) manage competition, and (3) provide added value to their customers. The knowledge base in manufacturing companies is firmly based in engineering activities and computer support for the design of artefacts is well developed (e.g., Computer Aided Design). However, it can be argued that the guiding principles, or the technological support, for PSS cannot be built upon the idea of products as engineered. A central message of this conceptual paper is that the introduction of PSS may challenge not only companies, but also design engineer education. The paper investigates the challenges and proposes activities that could bridge the gap between developing stand-alone products and service offerings.

Keywords: Product Service System, Engineering Design, Engineering Education, Participatory Design, Design Thinking

International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp.51-64. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 254.031KB).

Dr. Åsa Ericson

Head of Research, Product Innovation, Division of Innovation and Design, Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden

Åsa Ericson is an associate professor at the Division of Innovation and Design, Luleå University of Technology, Sweden. She is also the head of research in Product Innovation, which focuses on product service systems research in manufacturing firms. She has a background in social informatics and her interests are user involvement and radical innovation work. She is teaching creative methods, participatory design, and user-driven development processes.

Johan Wenngren

PhD Candidate, Product Innovation, Division of Innovation and Design, Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden

Johan Wenngren is a PhD student at the research subject Product Innovation. His research focuses on how design teams innovate in early phases of technical product and service development. He has a M.Sc. from Luleå University of Technology in Mechanical Engineering and Product development.


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