Design of a product is a key activity for resource efficiency and effectiveness, because it has a high impact on the performance of the product lifecycle including resource efficiency and effectiveness. However, design of service (e.g. upgrade, maintenance, repair, product reuse, part reuse, take back, remanufacturing, leasing, and sharing) also affects the resource efficiency and effectiveness substantially.

For instance, product repair prolongs the life time of a product and thus increases efficiency of the resource used for the product. As another example, upgrade adapts a product in use according to a new requirement so that the used resource continuously meets the requirements effectively.

New support

In order to enhance the performance of design in general, support can be effective. In addition, earlier stages of design with mainly incomplete and/or abstract information available are more important in general, as designers have a higher degree of freedom. However, knowledge is limited about what design support is effective in earlier stages for resource efficient and effective solutions (REES). Especially, existing support lack a holistic approach considering business issues and the demand-side’s perspectives in addition to the environmental aspect.

Therefore, the project aims to develop support for designing not only a product but also service for REES in early stages. The support to be developed by the project intend to be generic and thus applicable to a broad range of industrial sectors, because of the higher impact on industry.

Four work packages

The project involves four work packages (WPs).

The first one aims to make an inventory of what design support is used in industry to support design of REES, and furthermore, to describe the user experiences. The support found through interviews with the REES partners will be compared with existing supportavailable in literature.

The second WP derives requirements for the methods to be developed in the project: e.g. easy to learn, implement and use. The requirements will be based on the interviews with the REES partners as well as design sessions with experienced designers from the REES partners simulating REES design activities.

Then, design support will be developed in the third WP with close dialog with the REES partners. The developed REES design methods will be applied to products and services of the partners in the final WP: i.e., they will be tested, evaluated and refined together with the partners. The supports’ performance will be measured through the application to the REES partners as well as additional design sessions with different evaluation parameters: e.g. users’ experienced usefulness and potential to lower environmental and economic impacts. The results will be also fed into Project 5.

The main results of the project, which will run over the entire period of the Mistra REES program, are state of the art in industry and academia, newly developed design support, and cases of applying the new support. The results will be communicated to relevant international scientific communities (via journal articles and conference papers) and to industry (via popular science articles and workshops). Several chapters included in the REES textbook are also a main result.

Involved companies: Attends Healthcare, Ericsson, HTC, Inrego, Polyplank, Qlean, Stena, Såthöga, Volvo Cars och Volvo Group.

Responsible researcher

Tomohiko Sakao, Assistant professor, Linköping University. Photo: Monica Westman