What Do Experienced Practitioners Discuss When Designing Product/Service Systems?

  • Abhijna NeramballiEmail author
  • Tomohiko Sakao
  • John S. Gero
Conference paper


This paper presents empirical results aimed at increasing the understanding of conceptual activities of Product/Service Systems (PSS) design by experienced designers from industry. Results are derived from a protocol analysis of five PSS design sessions, using the Function–Behavior–Structure coding scheme. Sessions included five pairs of professional designers and the task was to redesign a concept for an existing PSS to improve its resource efficiency. The results show (i) the distribution of design issues during PSS design sessions, (ii) on average 47% of the overall cognitive design effort spent by the designers is related to behavior, and (iii) all the design issues except requirements are constantly focused on during the entirety of the design sessions. Major differences compared to product design are the average occurrence of function for PSS design (23%) for product design (4%) and of structure for PSS design (22%) compared to the product design (35%).



This research is supported in part by the Mistra REES (Resource Efficient and Effective Solutions) program funded by Mistra (The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research) (grant number DIA 2014/16). It is also supported in part by a grant from the US National Science Foundation Grant No. CMMI‐1400466 to the third author.

Informed consent was obtained from the participants of the design sessions on a voluntary basis and is in line with the regulations as described by Linköping University’s Centre for Applied Research Ethics. The authors acknowledge their contribution to this research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abhijna Neramballi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tomohiko Sakao
    • 1
  • John S. Gero
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Management and EngineeringLinköping UniversityLinköpingSweden
  2. 2.University of North Carolina at CharlotteCharlotteUSA

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