Open Innovation for ideating and designing new Product Service Systems
Abstract For modern manufacturing companies, the combination of physical products and intangible services (called Product-Service Systems or PSS) has been proved by time to be useful to enhance the product features by adding value throughout new functionalities, and bringing competitive advantages in a specific target market. Through PSS, companies create new business opportunities, extend the market share, differentiate the product portfolio, and improve sustainability. The PSS approach shifts the company attention from producing physical products to offering integrated systems. However, ideating and designing a PSS is a complex and multifaceted process, which requires multiple competences and cross-functions cooperation within the manufacturing company. In fact, the design phase requires to simultaneous dal with the characteristics of the physical product and of the intangible services, the last ones being by their nature fuzzy and difficult to define. Furthermore, the two entities have to be synergistically delivered and strategically managed thanks to the adoption of a PSS lifecycle management methodology and tools, in particular for the creation of a proper PSS infrastructure to delivery and maintain all the components from the design to the end of life phases. Several methodologies to design PSS can be found in literature. Most of them focus on technical development stages, while some of them face also the innovation aspects and sustainability. However, traditional product-centered approaches are not able to fully support the processes that manufacturing companies have to put in place for creating PSSs. This paper presents a new approach, based on the combination of the Open innovation method with IT solutions supporting information sharing and intra-team cooperation, in that any manufacturing company could adopt to manage the design process of a PSS. In particular, the methodology and the tools are focused on the early stages of the PSS design process, as Ideation and Concept definition that have been developed within the European FP7 project FLEXINET.