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Designing Product/Service Systems: A Methodological Exploration1


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Designing Product/Service Systems:
A Methodological Exploration
Nicola Morelli
1 Introduction
In this age of globalization and information technology, corporate
strategies are more and more challenged to bring production in line
with complex demands, which requires a substantial shift from the
production of goods to the provision of knowledge-intensive
systemic solutions.
Such solutions usually consist in a system of
products and services.
Given their strategic business relevance,
such solutions have rightly been widely discussed in the manage-
ment and marketing disciplines.
In the design discipline, however, the methodological impli-
cations of product/service systems rarely have been discussed even
though design components play a critical role in the development of
While it is true that designers’ activities usually have focused
on material artifacts (whether industrial products, spaces, or archi-
tectures), rather than on systemic solutions including services, it
also is worth remarking that PSS often are marketed as products,
and several aspects of the development of such systems are related
to the discipline of design, from the analysis of technological poten-
tials to the investigation of users’ behavior and attitudes with
respect to new products, technologies, and services. Above all, a
design approach would substantially contribute to the interpreta-
tion of emerging cultural and social patterns, and to the translation
of such patterns into a consistent and visible set of requirements for
the definition of future PSS.
On the other hand the involvement of designers in the devel-
opment of PSS would require an extension of designers’ activities to
areas previously covered by different disciplinary domains.
Therefore, new methodological tools are required in order to sup-
port the design process.
This paper explores the disciplinary domains that may offer
methodological suggestions for the design of PSS. The first part of
the paper focuses on the design of PSS from a designers perspec-
tive, emphasizing the role of designers in developing innovative
PSS. The second part outlines methodological tools that can be used
when dealing with specific aspects of the design activity focused on
1 This paper is one outcome of the investi-
gation for a research project named
TeleCentra funded by the Australian
Research Council (ARC) within the
Strategic Partnership with Industry,
Research and Training (SPIRT) program.
The project was coordinated by the
author in cooperation with Assistant
Professor Liddy Nevile, Melbourne I;
CoAsIt; Virtual Moreland; and Motile Pty.
Ltd. The author wishes to thank Michael
Abdilla, Professor Liddy Nevile, and
Andrew Donald for their critical and
methodological contributions to this
2 F. Butera, Il Castello e la Rete. (M ilano:
Domus Academy, 1990) Franco Angeli
and A. Bucci L’impresa Guidata dalle
Idee. (Milano: Domus Academy, 1992); E.
Manzini, “Il Design dei Servizi. La
Progettazione del Prodotto-Servizio,
Design Management 4 (1993): 7-12; D.
Pilat, Innovation and Productivity in
Services: State of the Art. (Innovation
and Productivity in Services, Sydney,
3 In this paper, such solutions will be
defined as product/service systems or
4 Manzini, “Il Design dei Servizi.”
© Copyright 2002 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Design Issues: Volume 18, N umber 3 S ummer 2002
2 Product/Service Systems: A Definition
A definition of the main terms is essential in order to better define
the cultural context for the design activity in this area. Product,
service, and system refer to large disciplinary perspectives whose
extension goes beyond the scope of the present paper. This paper,
however, will define them from a particular perspective, which
focuses on the logical domain generated by the intersection of
design culture with the practice of service management.
According to Goedkoop, et al.,
a PSS is a marketable set of
products and services capable of jointly fulfilling a users need. A
better definition of the concept is possible when considering it from
different perspectives.
From a traditional marketing perspective, the notion of PSS
originates from the shift of marketing focus from products (whose
characteristics are related to its material components) to a more
complex combination of products and services supporting produc-
tion and consumption.
From a service marketing perspective, the PSS represents the
evolution of traditional generic and standardized services towards
targeted and personalized ones.
This perspective reflects the trend
away from mass production that characterizes several production
From a product management perspective, the notion of PSS
refers to the extension of the service component around the product
for business activities that are traditionally product-oriented or the
introduction of a new service component marketed as a product for
business activities that are usually service-oriented.
The ratio between product and service components in a PSS
varies from case to case, and also over time, due to technological
developments, economic optimization, and the changing needs of
people. Moreover, different combinations of products and services
can fulfill the same needs. However, the common point of those
services, Manzini
observes, is that they are conceived and offered
as products, which are designed by taking into account a series of
economic and technological criteria. This emphasizes the relevance
of the designer in the definition of new PSS.
Some specific characteristics of PSS emerge when analyzing
the service component in comparison with the usual characteristics
of the product component. Such differences, emphasized by several
mainly concern the relationship between users, designers,
and service providers, production and consumption times, and the
material intensity (tangibility, portability) of services. Such charac-
teristics are outlined in the following paragraphs.
Relationship between users, designers, and service providers.
While product manufacturers generally do not have contact with
their customers, service providers usually shape the service together
with users, who, in fact, participate in the production process. This
5 M . J. Goedkoop , C. J. G. van Halen, H. R.
M. te Riele, and P. J. M. Rommens,
Product Service Systems, Ecological and
Economic Basics (Ministry of Housing,
Spatial Planning and the Environment
Communications Directorate, 1999).
6 Manzini, “Il Design dei Servizi.”
7 Ibid., and K. Albrecht and R. Zemke
Service America!: Doing Business in the
New Economy (Homewood, IL: Dow
Jones-Irw in, 1985).
8 S. Rocchi, “Towards a New Product-
Services Mix: Corporations in the
Perspective of SustainabilityIIIEE (1997)
(Lund, Sweden, University of Lund). And
O. Mont, “Product-Service Systems:
Shifting Corporate Focus from Selling
Products to Selling Product-services: A
New Approach to Sustainable
Developm ent,” Lund, (2000).
9 Manzini, “Il Design dei Servizi.”
1 0 P. Eiglier and P. Langeard, Marketing
Consumer Services: New Insights by
Pierre Eiglier [et al.] (Cambridge, MA:
M arketing Science Institute, 1977), 128;
R. Normann, Service Management:
Strategy and Leadership in Service
Business (Chichester; NY: W iley, 2000);
and R. Ramaswam y, Design and
Management of Service Processes
(Reading, MA: Addison-W esley Pub. Co.,
Design Issues: Volume 18, N umber 3 S ummer 2002
is particularly evident in enabling services, i.e., services in which
customers are provided with all of the tools necessary to perform
specific functions.
PSS are socially constructed systems, whose
characteristics are determined by the different cultural, social,
economic and technological frames of the actors involved in their
Production and consumption times.
Products are produced
and consumed at different times, while services come into existence
at the same moment they are being provided and used. Services are
processes developed and delivered over a certain period of time and
their configuration varies according to their use. On the other hand,
products usually maintain a well-defined configuration (apart from
general wear and tear, which usually does not affect their funda-
mental structure) from the time of manufacture and through the use
Material intensity.
While products generally are tangible
objects, services are composed of intangible functionalities. Because
of their immaterial components, unlike products, services cannot be
stored, nor can their ownership be transferred, which happens
when products are sold. Another relevant immaterial dimension in
PSS is time: while products exist in time and space; services are
processes which exist in time only.
3 Implications for Designers
The involvement of designers in the development of PSS implies an
extension of the traditional disciplinary domain of design, towards
new domains that provide designers with the necessary expertise to
manage the particular characteristics of PSS. The design activity is
projected on new dimensions; such a redefinition of the design
activity has relevant methodological implications.
3.1 New Dimensions for the Design Activity
The design of new services is an activity that should be able
to link the techno-productive dimension (What is the realm
of the possible?) to the social (What are the explicit areas of
demand and what the latent ones?) and cultural dimension.
(What behavioral structures should one seek to influence?
What values and qualitative criteria should we base our
judgments on?)
Manzini’s definition suggests that the domain of designers’ activi-
ties be expanded: in the most common view, the core of the design
activity is the technological definition of industrial artifacts. The
design domain, from this perspective, is described by the designers
technological knowledge and by the organizational aspects of the
production and consumption system he/she is working on (see
figure 1).
1 1 The definition of enabling services is
borrowed from Normann, who makes a
distinction between this category of
services and the category of relieving
services, in which the service provider
replaces the customer in a particular
1 2 L. G. Shostack, “How to Design a
Service,” European Journal of Marketing
16:1 (1982): 49-63.
1 3 Manzini, “Il Design dei Servizi.”
Design Issues: Volume 18, N umber 3 S ummer 2002
Figure 1
Multidimentional values implied in service
design activities.
Conversely, because users, designers, service providers, and even
technological components of a PSS are equally involved in the defi-
nition of the final configuration, the design role is projected upon
two new domains: the domain of the organizational and design
culture and the domain of the social construction of technology.
The first domain refers to the general attitude and capability
to propose the reorganization of some core functions around innov-
ative patterns. Such a domain is close to the discipline of design
management, although it often implies a capability to understand
and enhance organizational learning capabilities using PSSs as a
catalyst for innovation.
The social construction of the technology domain concerns
the ability of the social actors to influence innovation processes and
to determine the paradigmatic context in which new technologies,
products, and services can be accepted or refused. Such a context
depends on the capability of the actors to interpret, enhance, and
emphasize certain (sometimes weak) innovation signals.
3.2 Methodological Implications
The extension of the design activity to include services requires that
designers make use of new methodological tools to address the
main characteristics of PSS as outlined in section 2. Consequently,
the main questions designers have to face are:
What are the methodological tools available to designers for
the purpose of analyzing PSS as social constructions?
need tools to explore, understand, and address the needs of differ-
ent actors. Moreover, they have to take into account the existence of
possible friction between the socio-technical frames of different
authors participating in the development of a service.
How can designers manage the different phases of design and
planning activities?
Although a service only comes into existence
during the use phase, the various events characterizing the use of
the service must be planned in advance in order to anticipate and
organize the interaction between clients, providers, and the techno-
logical infrastructure. The designer needs to organize the flow of
events in a product/service system, and to ensure that any variables
are catered for as far as possible.
How can designers represent material and immaterial
components of PSS?
While products are easily represented through
technical drawings, there are not many metaphors and graphical
tools available to represent the immaterial component in services
and the relationship between material and immaterial elements of a
product/service system.
1 4 This paper does not suggest that the
product design activity is concerned only
with the technological definition of prod-
ucts, since there are aspects of product
design that have relevant social and
organization al implications. The distinc-
tion proposed in this paper, however,
aims at emphasizing the higher social
and organizational implication s in the
design of PSS with respect to the product
design activity.
1 5 The typical example of a problem the
designer has to solve when designing
services is how to reduce the cognitive
friction between complex technologies
(such as information technologies) and
ordinary users who may be totally unfa-
miliar with these technologies.
Design Issues: Volume 18, N umber 3 S ummer 2002
4 Designing PSS: An Interdisciplinary Exploration
The questions arising from the analysis of the methodological impli-
cations for the design activity requires an exploration in different
disciplinary domains. The questions in the previous section suggest
three directions for a methodological exploration:
Analysis of the system as a social construction
Management of the design process of a PSS through the
various phases before and during the use phase
Technical representation of PSS in the design process.
Such directions implicitly or explicitly refer to other disciplines,
such as social studies, marketing and management, and information
science. The following section will describe some of the method-
ological suggestions coming from such disciplines.
4.1 Analysis of PSS as a Social Construction
A product/service system is the result of the interaction between
different actors and technological elements during the use phase.
This means that the design activity should emphasize elements of
convergence between several social and technological factors,
The social, technological, and cultural frames of the actors
participating in the development of the system, and;
The technological knowledge embedded in the artifacts
used for the service.16
The combination of such a heterogeneous mix of elements
(people + cultural frames + technological artifacts) suggests that the
designer has the same function as the engineer-sociologist described
by Callon.
In this role, the design activity consists of linking tech-
nological artifacts to the attitudes of relevant social groups in order
to accept or reject certain products and technologies.
A useful methodological tool to analyze and understand the
different technological frames converging in a product/service
system is suggested by Bijker,
who proposes a set of criteria that
describes both the technological culture of the actors and the
cultural and social frames embedded in technological artifacts
(Table 1).
Bijker ’s criteria can be used to generate different profiles of
the possible users of a service. The generation of such profiles
requires the designer to undertake a thorough analysis of users
characteristics based on interviews, surveys, or even by generating
hypothetical use cases (see table 2) within workshops held by the
service design team.
1 6 Technological infrastructures often reveal
the strong influence of the socio-techni-
cal culture of their designers/developers.
Severe limitations to the development of
certain characteristics of PSS emerge
when such characteristics are beyond the
socio-technical horizon of the developers
of the technological infrastructure. Such
limitations are even more evident when
the PSS is based on high levels of
automatio n.
1 7 M. Callon, “Society in the Making, the
Study of Technology as a Tool for
Sociologica l Analysis” in W. E. Bijker The
Social Construction of Technological
Systems: New Directions in the
Sociology and History of Technology
(Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1989), 83-
1 8 W. E. Bijker, Of Bicycles, Bakelites, and
Bulbs: Toward a Theory of Sociotechnical
Change (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press,
Design Issues: Volume 18, N umber 3 S ummer 2002
Technological and cultural frames also are embedded in
technological artifacts and infrastructures included in PSS. Such
cultural frames are intelligible through the physical and technolog-
ical characteristics of the artifacts. Such frames are relevant to the
development of the service, because they often enhance or limit the
potential of the service. (Computers’ operating systems, for in-
stance, have a strong influence on how several information-based
PSS are organized.) The interpretation and manipulation of cultural,
social, and technological values embedded in artifacts are typical
characteristics of design activity for which the design discipline
already has developed analytical and methodological tools.
4.2 Management of the Design Process of a PSS
explains the relationship between the pre-use and the use
phase of a service with a dichotomy: the pre-use phase represents a
potential state of the service, in which the service can only be
described in hypothetical terms, or as a blueprint. The use phase
represents the actualization of the service, or kinetic state, in which
the service takes place.
1 9 Shostack, “How to Design a Service.”
Design Issues: Volume 18, N umber 3 S ummer 2002
Table I
The set of criteria proposed by Bijker to describe a technological frame.
Criteria Explanation
Goals The main needs each group wants to satisfy in relation to specific
aspects of their work activities.
Key problems The main problems to be solved or overcome for each group in order
to achieve their goals.
Problem solving strategies The strategies each group believes to be admissible and effective
in solving the main problems.
Requiremen ts to be met by problem-solvin g strategies The criteria for admissibility and effectiveness of problem solving strategies.
Current theories The theoretical knowledge supporting the activity of each group in setting goals, identi-
fying and selecting problems, and proposing admissible problem solving strategies.
Tacit knowledge The practice based-knowledg e, upon which each group relies to set goals, identify and
select problems, and propose admissible problem-solvin g strategies.
Testing procedures The procedures each group uses to evaluate the effectiveness of each
problem-solving strategy.
Design methods and criteria The methods and parameters used for proposing technological solutions
to emerging needs.
Users’ practice The users attitudes towards the existing solutions to the present needs.
Perceived substitution function The products, services, or sets of functionalities each group believes is to be replaced
when proposing or using innovative solutions.
Exemplary artifacts The products and services that are used as models in developing new solutions. These
often are derived from the perceived substitution function.
The actualization of a PSS consists in managing the various
concurrent elements including technological infrastructure, person-
nel, marketing, customer relations, and communication. Manage-
ment issues in this phase are determinant, while the designer ’s role
focuses on specific aspects emerging during the use of the service.
However, the designer ’s role is critical in the potential phase, in
which all the potential elements of the system are defined. Inter-
esting contributions to the definition of this phase are coming not
only from design management and marketing disciplines, but also
from the modeling methods used in the design of information
Design management studies, in particular the disciplinary
domain focused on product development, provides suggestions for
the definition of the design process. Although the focus of this disci-
plinary area is on industrial products, a systemic approach is
commonly used. Ulrich and Eppinger
analyze the design activity
within the whole planning and development process of a product,
from the planning phase through concept development, system
level design, detail design, testing and refinement, and production
The phase of concept development presents several analo-
gies with the activity of service design. This phase (outlined in
Figure 2) consists in an exploration of the design concept, including
phases such as the identification of customers’ needs, concept gen-
eration and selection, concept testing, and final specification. Such a
process would consist in an iteration of exploratory phases (identi-
fication of customer needs, selection and test of a concept) alter-
nated with project phases (defining specifications, generating a set
of concepts, and defining a final configuration). The iterative pro-
cess is critical in this phase because it keeps the focus on the basic
concepts to be developed in the following phases. The progressive
exploration and focusing on the design concept also is a character-
istic of the potential phase of the design of a PSS. Therefore, the logi-
cal sequences proposed by Ulrich and Eppinger in the concept
development phase can be adapted for the design of services.
2 0 K. T. Ulrich and Steven D. Eppinger,
Product Design and Development (New
York: McGraw-H ill, 2000).
Design Issues: Volume 18, N umber 3 S ummer 2002
Concep ts
Concep ts
Concep ts
Development Plan
Mission Statement
Figure 2
The concept development process in product
design and development.
Figure 3 represents the design process followed for the de-
velopment of a support service for nomadic workers within the
TeleCentra research project. The schematic representation of the
sequence emphasizes two dimensions (spaces): a problem space, or
behavioral space in which functional requirements are explored,
and a design space or structure space in which solutions are
proposed. Problem phases lead to new solutions which in turn, refo-
cus the problems and prompt new requirements.
Marketing disciplines propose a design approach focused on
services. Ramaswamy
divides the whole design development
process of a service into design and management phases (Figure 4).
The design phase includes the design of products, facilities, service
operation processes, and customer service processes, whereas the
management phase includes design implementation, performance
measurement, satisfaction assessment, and performance improve-
ment. Ramaswamy thoroughly explores each of the eight phases
outlined, using management criteria to select and measure quanti-
tative and qualitative requirements of the service and to select
design solutions. The design phase proposed by Ramaswamy
synthesizes the main phases proposed by the previously mentioned
studies. However, Ramaswamy analyses the whole process of
service design as an integrated and iterative process, in which the
management phase includes measurements and testing strategies
which provide feedback for further improvements.
Ramaswamy’s methodology, however, may need a more
thorough exploration in the potential phase, especially for cases in
The PSS proposed are totally new to the users, therefore
their actual use depends on users’ capability to recognize
and accept the added valued provided by the PSS;
The customers are supposed to use the PSS in complete
autonomy; this means that in the prototyping and prelimi-
2 1 J. Maher, M . L. a. P.,”Modelling Design
Exploration as Co-evolution
Microcomputers in Civil Engineering 11:3
(1996): 195-210; M. l. Maher, Josiah
Poon, and Sylvie Boulanger, “Formalising
Design Exploration as Co-Evolution: A
Combined Gene Approach” in Advances
in Formal Design Methods for CAD J. S.
G. a. F. (Sudweeks, Chapman & Hall,
1996): 1– 28.
2 2 Ramaswamy, Design and Management of
Service Processes.
Design Issues: Volume 18, N umber 3 S ummer 2002
of the product/
(use hypotheses)
Figure 3
A model of the development of a the pre-use
phase of a project (source TeleCentra).
nary definition phases the largest number of possible ways
of using the PSS must be anticipated.
In such cases, some evaluation criteria are missing that
would be necessary to support all of the decisions in the service
design phase. (It would be difficult, for instance, to specify design
attributes and performance standards if service requirements are
not clearly stated.) Such criteria would emerge once events and
actors of the service are better described.
Information science may provide interesting methodological
suggestions to the design activity when such conditions occur. Like
services, information systems are a series of events distributed in
time, in which users are supposed to interact with a predesigned set
of elements. The evaluation of the adequacy of the elements and
their structure must be satisfactory before the system is proposed to
the customers. This requires an iterative process involving the
phases of project planning, analysis, design and implementation,
such iteration starts before the proposition of the system to the client
and continues during the use phase.
Particularly relevant to the design of services are the meth-
odologies needed to investigate the system requirements. The list of
requirements for each functional element of a system is generated
by the proposition of scenarios, i.e., a description of events (use
cases) in which customers are likely to use the system. Use cases are
described in a diagrammatic way and with a plain language
description of the flow of events, actors involved, pre-and post-
condition for each use case, alternative paths, and other relevant
elements. The description of use cases usually is based on templates
that list the relevant information required for each use case.
Table 1
is a simplified use case for the requirements of a specific function
(organize meetings) for an online diary to be proposed to TeleCentra
nomadic users. The example in Table 1 should be completed with
the description of alternative use paths.
2 3 Ibid.
2 4 J. W. Satzinger, R. B. Jackson, et al.
Systems Analysis and Design in a
Changing World (Cambridge, MA: Course
Technology, 2000).
2 5 D. Leffingw ell and D. W idrig, Managing
Software Requirements: A Unified
Approach (Reading, MA, Addison-
Wesley, 2000); D. Kulak and E. Guiney,
Use Cases: Requirements in Context
(New York, Boston, London: ACM Press,
2000); Addison-W esley, J. W. Satzinger,
R. B. Jackson, et al., Systems Analysis
and Design in a Changing World
(Cambridge , MA: Course Technology,
Design Issues: Volume 18, N umber 3 S ummer 2002
Figure 4
The service design and management model.
Design Issues: Volume 18, N umber 3 S ummer 2002
Table I
Simplified description of a use case for the definition of requirements for an online diary (TeleCentra project).
Use Case Name Organize Meetings
Actor Meeting Inviter, Meeting Invitees
Description When a user decides to schedule a meeting, s/he can make use of these settings by simply stating the requirements of the
meeting, and the system then can use the information in each invitee’s calendar to decide on a suitable date and time,
where that information is accessible.
Where configured as such, the invitees can respond with an alternative proposal that is more suitable. Alternatively, a user
can simply send out an invitation with a set date and time, and invitees can manually respond by either accepting or declin-
ing the invitation, with or without the option to negotiate the tim e.
Postconditions 1. A meeting is scheduled and recorded in the system (calendar function)
Normal Course Actions Actors
PHASE I: Construct meeting invitation
Enter meeting requirements into the system; these should include the intended participants, Meeting Inviter
and any space requirements and timeframe constraints (between certain dates and times).
For certain meetings, participants might be listed as optional or compulsory, indicating a level
of flexibility in case no time meets every stated requiremen t.
Where possible (based on personal calendar settings, UC-04), the system examines the Meeting Inviter,
calendars of each meeting invitee in order to advise the meeting inviter of the most suitable Meeting Invitees
meeting time.
PHASE II: Send meeting invitations
Once a suitable meeting time has been suggested, the meeting inviter then can choose Meeting Inviter
to send out invitations to the meeting invitees
PHASE III: Renegotiate meeting arrangements
The process then enters a negotiation phase, in which any meeting invitee that has his/her Meeting Inviter,
calendar configured as such may attempt to reschedule the meeting based on his/her Meeting Invitees
availability (usually only necessary where visibility constraints meant that a suitable time was (via the system)
not chosen at step 2). This process may be repeated several times, and may involve several Invitees.
Once renegotiation is complete, the inviter and invitees are notified of the confirmed meeting Meeting Inviter,
time and location. Meeting Invitees
PHASE IV: Confirm meeting attendance
Any meeting invitees who can attend the meeting then accept the invitation (manually or Meeting Invitees
automatic ally); likewise, any invitees who cannot attend the meeting decline the invitation.
4.3 Technical Representation of Product-service Systems
The activity of design consists in the projection of a set of ideas into
future configurations. Because of this, the design activity heavily
relies on visual representation, which is critical in communicating a
project to clients, in verifying the validity of the project, and in
generating a plan that can be understood and executed by other
actors involved in the design process.
Specific representation techniques have been developed for
product design which highlight specific aspects of the product.
Product designers are able to produce a blueprint of a product that
will be unequivocally interpreted by those who will manufacture
and/or buy the product, or will provide some of its components.
The blueprint of a PSS should contain indications about
potential functions, interaction between actors, and functionalities
and flows of events.
The diagrammatic representation of use cases (see previous
section) focuses on the interaction between actors and the system.
The most common method of representation used by the Unified
Modeling Language (UML) in computer science consists of a simple
diagram describing the actors, the use case, and the kind of rela-
tionship between them (Figure 5). This kind of representation does
not contain indications about the time sequence in which the inter-
action occurs.
The graphic representation used in some marketing studies
includes both the interaction between the elements of the system
and the time sequence. In order to represent the time variable in the
process, Shostack
considers process representation systems from
different disciplines: the time/motion engineering (used to plan the
manufacture and assembly of products), the PERT charting (used in
management sciences to conduct time/cost trade off analysis) and
the system and software design used in computer science to sched-
ule the tasks in a software program.
The resulting technique suggested by Shostack uses elements
of PERT charting (in particular the calculation of critical time),
elements of time/motion engineering (in particular the representa-
tion of the flow diagram), and elements of computer system design
(Figure 6).
A similar system also is proposed by Ramaswamy
who, in
addition, proposes to specify the person or the organization respon-
sible for each phase of the service (See Figure 7). Both of these tech-
niques also make it possible to specify those processes that are
directly visible to the customers, as well as those that are managed
in the “back office.
The techniques proposed by Shostack and Ramaswamy do
not take into account other variables of a PSS, whose specification
would provide further information for the design process. In
enabling services, for instance, it would be relevant to specify which
functions are performed by the users and which by the service
2 6 Shostack, “How to Design a Service.”
2 7 Ramaswamy Design and Management of
Service Processes.
Design Issues: Volume 18, N umber 3 S ummer 2002
Use case:
M eeting Inviter
Meeting Invitee
Figure 5
Example of use case diagram used in UML.
provider, which functions are automated and which rely on human
actions, in what kind of (physical and virtual) spaces is the service
located and whether actions are based on movement between
spaces or are located in a single place.
Figure 8 is the graphic representation developed for some
use cases in the TeleCentra project. The project consisted in the
development of a PSS (a telecenter) to support nomadic workers.
The PSS included both physical spaces (reception and temporary
offices) and technological infrastructures (computers, intranet, and
Internet). A telecenter is an enabling service in which nomadic
workers (i.e., people working away from their traditional office) can
perform office-like functions with the support of technical assis-
tance, reception services, and several automated functions.
The representation in Figure 8 includes elements of Shos-
tack’s and Ramaswamy’s graphics, but also distinguishes spaces, ac-
tors performing the functions, automated tasks, and movement ac-
tions. Further additions to the representation in Figure 8 could con-
sist in the specification of the time employed by each function, as in
Shostack’s graphic.
Design Issues: Volume 18, N umber 3 S ummer 2002
Brush shoes
Apply polish
Line of Visibility
15 seconds45 seconds30 seconds30 seconds
N ot directly seen orexperienced by custom ers,
but necessary to performance of service.
Facilitating Products
Facilitating Service and Products
Clean shoes
45 seconds
(e.g. polish and
Select and
Figure 6
Representa tion of the flow of events in a
sample service (street shoe shine) analyzed by
Other methods proposed for the graphic representation of
PSS are PetriNets, used to model complex systems including the
development of a series of transactions in time (proposed by
) and other methods borrowed from disciplinary areas that
are closer to design such as storyboards (i.e., simple graphic repre-
sentation of actors and actions happening during the development
of a service).
This method, borrowed from screenplay techniques,
would prove useful not only in the design phase, but also in the use
phase, to guide the customer to a correct use of the service. How-
ever, such methods can be inadequate to represent a flow of events
that is not linear, such as feedback loops and multiple options.
5 Conclusion
The disciplinary contributions contained in this paper cover differ-
ent aspects of the application of the design discipline to PSS.
Although considered as a part of the management and marketing
domain, PSSs efficiency, visibility, and usability, are, in fact, heavily
reliant on design aspects. More important, the design perspective
2 8 E. Pacenti, “La Progettazione dei Servizi
tra Qualità Ambientale e Qualità S ociale
Di Tec (1998) Milano, Politecnico di
M ilano.
2 9 Ibid., and Shostack How to Design a
Design Issues: Volume 18, N umber 3 S ummer 2002
Figure 7
Representation of the process for the order-
taking in a restaurant.
Menu Delivery
Meal Delivery
Wait for
customer to
read menu
customer about
about menu
Take order
availability of
item s
Validate order
with customer
Validate order
with customer
Are items
Design Issues: Volume 18, N umber 3 S ummer 2002
Figure 8.
Representation of a use case for the
TeleCentra project.
John logs in
John saves his
John works on
his C V
John logs out2
John is guided to
the w orkstation
John enters
John goes to
pay the bill
John leaves
Billing person
processes bill
John to room
John pays the
informs John
Johns m ember
card is updated
w elcomes John
System verify
Johns identity and
logs John on
System gets
ready for
new users
Working Space
System saves
Johns settings
System saves
Johns w ork in his
Front Office
Back Office
A ccounting sy stem
registers payment
Sys tem
sys tem
Space and facilities
Room assistant runs
software to clean system
Technical maintenance
and upgrades
im plying
by the
by the user
Autom ated
Hum an and/or
autom ated
adds critical insights related to specific aspects of the development
of PSS.
The involvement of designers in the development of PSS
requires the repurposing of methodological tools used in manage-
ment and marketing disciplines, but also the introduction of new
tools derived from other disciplinary domains such as design man-
agement and information system design. Such tools would be
useful to specify aspects of the design process for PSS that some-
times are considered as complementary in marketing and manage-
ment disciplines. More specifically the tools introduced by the
analysis of services from a design perspective would focus on
aspects related to the quality of the environment in which the
service takes place, the quality of interaction between actors and
technologies and the interaction between different cultural, social,
and technological backgrounds derived from the actors’ socio-tech-
nical frames and from the socio-technical frames embedded in tech-
nological infrastructures used in the PSS.
A designer ’s perspective focuses on how a PSS takes form in
all of its phases. Indeed, understanding users’ technological and
cultural frames, modeling their behavior in relation to the service
and representing material and immaterial aspects of a service in
order to generate a service blueprint are activities that are very close
to the design discipline and therefore can take advantage of several
aspects of designers’ existing methodological approach.
The exploration proposed in this paper, however, still is frag-
mentary because of the lack of a complete technological framework
for the design of PSS. Such a framework should be developed on
the basis of the existing contributions from the management and
marketing disciplines, and in light of a debate within the design
community itself. This paper hopefully provides some useful ele-
ments to help fuel such a debate.
Design Issues: Volume 18, N umber 3 S ummer 2002
... The flow of PSS is therefore not directly linked to the flow of money and making it difficult to compare costs, benefits and economic reward (Cantamessa, 2011;Johne & Storey, 1998;Nijssen et al., 2006;Tukker & Tischner, 2004). 4. Allocate means for a higher brand execution (user experience design) opposed to lower brand promise (communications through PR and advertising) (Tukker, 2004;Vandermerwe & Rada, 1988). 5. Consider co creation in a broad sense, build strategic relations with executors, actors, stakeholders, customers, clients, (information) network(s) and a range of separated disciplines for the design of PSS (Van Erp, 2011;Drejer, 2004;Morelli, 2002;Tukker & Tischner, 2004). The multiplicity of needs and inputs are essential elements in the front end of PSS development and design (Müller et al., 2009;Van Halen et al., 2005). ...
... 1. Co create on different levels, actively involve executors, actors, stakeholders, clients, (information) networks in the front end of PSS design. Put customer needs and inputs central in different stages of the development according to user centered and service dominant principles (Van Erp, 2011;Drejer, 2004;International Organization for Standardization, 2010;Morelli, 2002;Müller et al., 2009;Tukker & Tischner, 2004;Van Halen et al., 2005). 2. Provide insights in front and back office implications and their lines of visibility (Edvardsson & Olsson, 1996;Johne, 1993;Johne & Storey, 1998;Lievens, 2000;Menor et al., 2002;Nijssen et al., 2006). ...
... 2. Provide insights in front and back office implications and their lines of visibility (Edvardsson & Olsson, 1996;Johne, 1993;Johne & Storey, 1998;Lievens, 2000;Menor et al., 2002;Nijssen et al., 2006). 3. Characterize the use phase in PSS through planned or designed events and organize the flow (Eekels, 1994;McAloone & Andreasen, 2004;Morelli, 2002). 4. Align different time frames and make sure that both product and service are defined in interaction with user (Morelli, 2002). 5. Aim to design for a higher brand execution, opposed to a lower brand promise (Tukker, 2004;Vandermerwe & Rada, 1988). ...
Full-text available
This thesis places an integrated approach to PSS design at the center. Therefore, we delineate a PSS logic and associated constraints (relevant requirements) to support the design process, and create a PSS design toolkit (actionable approach) to enable synthesis between product and service, rather than maintaining the dichotomy. With an emphasis on context, interrelationships and the whole, we prepare future generations of designers for challenges associated with product service system design. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.18446.64328
... In this part, we present our literature study as a qualitative and aggregative research method to unravel the 'terminological jungle' surrounding product-service systems. With an explorative purpose (Hart, 1998), we initiated our literature review on Web of Science with a navigation of the collection journals (Gokula Vijaykumar, Roy, & Corney, 2015;Gokula Vijaykumar, Roy, Lelah, & Brissaud, 2012;Manzini & Vezzoli, 2003;Morelli, 2002), books (Birkhofer, 2011;den Ouden, 2012;Hesselbach, 2011;Merholz et al., 2008;Van Halen, Vezzoli, & Wimmer, 2005), and proceedings that have enabled us to describe the transition to integrate products and services into systems. In this review we made use of terminological analysis, chaining and concept mapping, methods introduced by Webster & Watson (2016). ...
... something happening -the context, another user or an employee -that makes the connection and defines the interaction with product and/or service. (Eekels, 1994;McAloone & Andreasen, 2004;Morelli, 2002). ...
... By adding products or services to the offering, consider their consequences in the design, determine utilization and reactions to PSS, effects and side-effects (Eekels, 1994;McAloone & Andreasen, 2004). Consequently ensure that all variables are catered for as far as possible (Morelli, 2002). Consider that provision of services involves a number of tangible and intangible elements, the supply of products relies on culmination of a chain of services (Cooper & Evans, 2000;Tukker & Tischner, 2004 Control is thinking what to connect to their domotics. ...
Full-text available
This thesis places an integrated approach to PSS design at the center. Therefore, we delineate a PSS logic and associated constraints (relevant requirements) to support the design process, and create a PSS design toolkit (actionable approach) to enable synthesis between product and service, rather than maintaining the dichotomy. With an emphasis on context, interrelationships and the whole, we prepare future generations of designers for challenges associated with product service system design.
... As research on PSS largely centres on how manufacturers integrate services with their existing products (i.e., the servitisation approach), a large group of scholars study PSS integrations in terms of design and engineering (Manzini and Vezzoli, 2003;Matschewsky et al., 2018;Morelli, 2002;Qu et al., 2016). Consequently, the focus is on design methodologies and configuring frameworks for integrating physical products with different types or levels of services, such as the eight types of PSS by Tukker (2004) and three types of services (base services, intermediate services and advanced services) by Baines and Lightfoot (2013). ...
... Consequently, the focus is on design methodologies and configuring frameworks for integrating physical products with different types or levels of services, such as the eight types of PSS by Tukker (2004) and three types of services (base services, intermediate services and advanced services) by Baines and Lightfoot (2013). Morelli (2002) argues that a PSS is the result of interactions between different actors and technological elements during the use phase, meaning that design activities should emphasise convergence between several social and technological factors. Several scholars have started to design PSS from a socio-technical systems perspective (Li, Rich, et al., 2020;Liedtke et al., 2015). ...
... In general, in the first step of 'perfecting the core', organisations conducted technical integrations mainly, with some consideration of social integrations in designing more sustainable products/services. This is because integrations of new features to the core products/services naturally involves re-design and re-engineering (Matschewsky et al., 2018;Morelli, 2002), and there is also a feedback loop requiring the design of PSS from a socio-technical systems perspective (Li, Rich, et al., 2020;Liedtke et al., 2015). In the second step of 'adding the adjacent', organisations conducted both technical and commercial integrations, and like step 1, with some consideration of social integrations. ...
... For example, product and service design objects have fundamentally different characteristics: there are differences in the tangibility of the design objects, differences in terms of the separability of production and consumption of products and services, and the temporal freedom to design the respective objects along the lifecycle (Maussang et al., 2009;Meier et al., 2010). Due to the higher degree of intangibility (Maussang et al., 2009) and the higher degree of the social construction of PSS than its product part (Morelli, 2002), PSSs are considered to have higher degrees of uncertainties, which designers need to address . ...
... PSSs have similar properties as that to an open STS, including complex interactions of technological artefacts, human actors and the environment (Annarelli et al., 2016;Morelli, 2002;Roy, 2000). More specifically, a PSS is expected to have the following open systems properties: an internal environment with separate but interdependent technical and social sub-systems or elements, the ability of the overall system to adapt collectively and to address goals in external environments, the property of equifinality that allows it to address system goals in more than one way, and reliance of the system performance on the joint optimization of the social and technical sub-systems or elements (Badham et al., 2000;Baxter & Sommerville, 2011). ...
... Exchangeability refers to the ability to transfer the design efforts between the product and service elements in order to address the overall system goals (ibid). Product and service elements are characteristically different (Maussang et al., 2009;Morelli, 2002;, and these differences are listed in Table 1. Table 1. ...
... A typical smart product is not static, it is connected and supported by intangible functionalities; namely services [30]. Being always connected has a great impact on product design, uses and service design within different cultures due to the complex offerings, involving multiple and different types of users, touchpoints and use contexts [31]. ...
... Being always connected has a great impact on product design, uses and service design within different cultures due to the complex offerings, involving multiple and different types of users, touchpoints and use contexts [31]. As "design components play a critical role in the development of Product/Service Systems (PSSs)" (Morelli, 2002, p.3) [30], new skills and new ways of understanding are required, especially "knowledge of the social sciences, of story construction, of back-stage operations, and of interaction" (Norman, 2010; p.5) [32] which can "help designers to lessen the drawbacks" in smart PSSs design and "play a central role for the value-creation-in-use" [27]. These areas were formerly sheltered by diverse domains but may provide designers a necessary expertise to manage the particular characteristics of PSSs [30]. ...
... As "design components play a critical role in the development of Product/Service Systems (PSSs)" (Morelli, 2002, p.3) [30], new skills and new ways of understanding are required, especially "knowledge of the social sciences, of story construction, of back-stage operations, and of interaction" (Norman, 2010; p.5) [32] which can "help designers to lessen the drawbacks" in smart PSSs design and "play a central role for the value-creation-in-use" [27]. These areas were formerly sheltered by diverse domains but may provide designers a necessary expertise to manage the particular characteristics of PSSs [30]. According to Norman (2010), designer candidates are not well equipped in the behavioral sciences [32]. ...
Full-text available
The main purpose of the study is to determine how transforming power of IOT may affect the unique system of knowledge of the industrial design field in terms of legitimacy, practice, and education. The investigation is based on the larger question of whether IOT functions as transducer on jurisdictional boundaries of field and how the new tasks and work activities of industrial design field may response in general. Answering these questions will bring community closer to understanding of the need of a different designer formulation, a possible sub-field within the design discipline and ways of how future practitioners and to strengthen their career lifespan.
... The original focus of service design research and practice was on service interfaces as points of interaction between service providers and service users, which allow designers to draw on their ability to understand human experiences and translate this understanding into improved service experiences (Holmlid, 2007;Sangiorgi, 2009). Over the years, the focus expanded to include service interfaces and experiences (Clatworthy, 2011;Secomandi & Snelders, 2011), service contexts and systems (Morelli, 2002(Morelli, , 2009, and organizational changes (Pinheiro et al., 2012). Thus, service design has had broad application that spans the design of interactions to the design of transformations at the individual, organizational and societal levels (Wetter-Edman, 2014) In around 2008, there was a notable shift in focus in the service design literature from defining and justifying service design as a field to research on service design, including a focus on the tools and methods of service design practice . ...
... It is through a systemic approach which combines tangible objects (products) with intangibles (services) giving way to the PSS concept, while allowing the development of innovative solutions of diverse areas in an integrated manner. The PSS approach, presents various definitions [2,4,12] (Manzini and Vezzoli 2003;Meier et al. 2010) [20][21][22]37] which share concepts such as the following: (1) integration of different elements for the operation of the system; (2) involvement of tangibles with intangibles; ...
Full-text available
This paper presents a methodology which takes the Design Driven Innovation concept (Verganti, in: Overcrowded: design meaningful products in a world awash with ideas, The MIT Press, Cambridge, 2016) as a starting point and combines it with Human-Centered Design (HCD) (Norman in Interactions 12(4):14–19, 2005., Product-Service System (Costa et al. in: Design Stud 55:112–145, 2018. and the Participatory Design (Drain and Sanders in Int J Des 13:39–52, 2019) approach, to create disruptive solutions in all likelihood of potential implementation. The methodology is explained using the development of connected services for the automotive business in Latin America as a case study, a project developed in a collaboration between a private organization and an interdisciplinary team from the Design School of Universidad Católica de Chile. This methodology is particularly well suited for complex technological services, humanizing an intangible technology through the orchestration of service strategies and the materialization of its components. The Latin American market has certain peculiarities, which makes it impossible to simply transfer technology developed for other markets. It is therefore essential to combine technology with human factors, understanding people and their relationship with digital platforms in order to take a step-by-step approach that will aid the transition of today’s automotive business model into Mobility as a Service (MAAS) in the future. To define the service, qualitative research was performed to understand client needs and motivations through participatory design sessions with personnel belonging to different levels within the organization, potential clients, and clients involved in previous pilot tests performed by the organization. The application of Innovation methodologies also means that even though the service will be launched to market, there will be continuous learning and updates as more information is gathered from its users.
... Come descrive Morelli (2002) inizialmente, negli anni 2000, i PSS sono stati studiati principalmente in ambito di marketing e management ma non nell'ambito del design. Secondo Goedkoop (1999) 41 un PSS è infatti un insieme commerciabile di prodotti e servizi in grado di soddisfare congiuntamente il bisogno di un utente. ...
Full-text available
The research explores the field of sustainability assessment in its environmental and social aspects, by considering the possibilities of the design discipline to guide society towards widespread sustainable empowerment. The growth of the Circular Economy as a sustainable business model to contrast the climate and pandemic crisis, within the European regulations, challenges designers to face this model and take on a new role. The complexity of production systems leads to a systemic vision in which relations between different actors can take on new conformations and foster the transition from a linear supply chain to a networked one based on information sharing. Moreover, achieving sustainable innovation does not seem to be very effective without the active involvement of individuals. The increasing attention to consumer behaviour and attempts at sustainability education indicate a trend for companies to not only act on the production and disposal phases, but also on the use phase. At the same time, the spread of participative systems highlights an increasing willingness on the part of consumers to play an active role in the production chain and become ‘prosumer’. The field of self-production, or Do-it-Yourself, emerged as a fertile ground for triggering sustainable practices, in which the designer plays the role of intermediary between expert and non-expert. The research studied the strategies of the Circular Economy in relation to the responses pursued by Design for Sustainability, as well as the emerging practices linked to peer-to-peer and commons systems, in order to channel them into the Design Driven Innovation process. Focus of the research is the Life Cycle Assessment methodologies with its softwares and database adapted to informal contexts. The complexity of the process and the difficulty of interpretation of the results obtained make this methodology accessible only to those who have a strong chemical-environmental background. Furthermore, the Life Cycle Assessment is not is not yet a complete tool for assessing sustainability as it relates environmental impacts only, whereas it has now become essential to assess the social social aspects related both to workers' conditions and to the consequences on communities and territories. The study of Life Cycle Assessment was carried out through participation in specific training courses for learning the LCA calculation software and GaBi thinkstep, within university research projects in collaboration with the Design for Sustainability Laboratory of the University of Florence, and through the collaboration with Idemat database and mobile-app tool for Light LCA. Beyond the difficulties of applying Life Cycle Assessment, it can be used as an introductory tool for learning about sustainability. The first output of the research was the set-up of a workshop for design students to learn Life Cycle Assessment, and introduce them to the comprehension of product-service systems and supply chains, facilitating the learning and management of complex systems. Final output is MAKE!T DIFFERENT a collaborative and circular service platform, designed for Do-It-Yourself target group, it uses a simplification of the Life Cycle Assessment methodology to provide its users with a tool they can use to calculate their own environmental impact, namely by offering them an empowerment tool that enables them to approach environmental issues. A gaming system was created to guide the user in the acquisition of green skills through the completion of the actions proposed in the different sections of the platform, with the aim to spread knowledge about the impacts of production processes and to strengthen a circular territorial network. In conclusion, the research brings the discussion on the opportunities for the dissemination of Life Cycle Assessment in new contexts. The platform is intended to be a model that can be adapted and replicated in other contexts, so as to encourage practices of circularity of knowledge and materials, in order to come closer to the requirements of transparency and traceability of processes required by European regulations.
Due to the ongoing digital transformation, businesses are exposed to work with a dynamic business environment. Traditional 1-to-1 relationships between manufacturers and end customers are transformed into a network of relationships between manufacturers, end customers, software developers, suppliers, and third parties. The network of partners evolves into an ecosystem. Using a smart product-service system as the central anchor of value creation for an ecosystem enables hybrid value creation for producers and consumers simultaneously. In this paper we develop a knowledge-based model of smart product-service systems in their corresponding ecosystems, that assists designers and developers in decision making during the product development process.KeywordsSmart product-service systemsProduct-service ecosystemsKnowledge-based engineeringSmart product engineering
Suggests that behavioural hypothesis, which rearranges or alters any element, by design or accident, will change the overall entity, just like changing bonds or atoms in a molecule creates a new substance, and this is known as molecular modelling — and this can help the marketer to better understand any market entity. States that the first step towards rational service design is a system for visualizing this phenomenon, enabling services to be given proper position and weight in the market entity context. Proposes that people are essential evidence of a service and how they are dressed or act has a bearing on this. Identifies benefits, standards and tolerances, and discusses modifications using tables and figures for emphasis. Concludes that modelling and blueprinting offer a system for marketers which can lead to the kind of experimentation and management necessary to service innovation and development.