Designing a product service system in a social framework: methodological and ethical considerations

JONAS, Wolfgang, MORELLI, Nicola and MÜNCH, Juliane (2009). Designing a product service system in a social framework: methodological and ethical considerations. In: Undisciplined! Design Research Society Conference 2008, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK, 16-19 July 2008.


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Macroscopic social and economic changes in the last few years are forcing business companies and public institutions to redefine their approach to social intervention, focusing on local and highly individualised solutions. This change is also calling for a new design approach. The challenge for designers is not only to be able to provide local and highly individualised solutions, but also to propose strategies to transfer and reproduce the solutions, or part of them, into different local contexts, thus creating economy of scope. This would be possible by using forms of codification and modularisation of the most relevant components in local solutions.

The code refers to the organisational knowledge included in local components and the way each component interacts with the others. Like software systems, local product-service systems can be built upon a source code. This paper will illustrate how this process was developed in a concrete case. Through this case the authors analyse the possibility to build something similar to a source code for initiatives based on social interaction and investigate the process of construction of such a code Furthermore, the author discuss differences and analogies between design intervention in a social context and in the normal business context.

The question of codification suggests a methodological approach for supporting transferability both in the problem space (dealing with complexity) and in the solution space (dealing with contingency). The analysis of differences and similarities between business- and socially-oriented processes suggests a new role for designers and new opportunities for innovation.

Product Service Systems, Methodology, Design and Morality, Codification, Transferability

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (-)
Depositing User: Ann Betterton
Date Deposited: 17 Aug 2009
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 14:17

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