Systems Thinking for Designing Sustainable Product Service Systems: A Case Study Using a System Dynamics Approach

By Maryam Afshar and David Wang.

Published by The Design Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper proposes a system dynamics approach for the design and development of sustainable product-service systems (PSSs) to address the structural complexity inherent in PSS design. We believe system dynamics is a valuable tool in identifying the main components of a PSS, their relationships, and the dynamic behavior of the system in its broader context. Easy to understand and interactive simulations of system dynamics can bring the most important properties of a PSS into focus and therefore facilitate the design decision making process. Simulations also provide an opportunity for exploring the environmental impacts and market performance of a design concept quantitatively over a long period of time. This paper illustrates the application of system dynamics for PSS design through a case study of an alternative Clean Transport Service called CTS.

Keywords: Product-service Systems, System Dynamics, Modeling and Simulation, Integrated Systemic Tool, Analytical Quantitative Approach, Quantifying Environmental Impacts

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 4, Issue 6, pp.259-274. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 826.447KB).

Maryam Afshar

Graduate Student / Graduate Assistant, Interdisciplinary Design Institute, Washington State University, Spokane, WA, USA

Maryam Afshar is a Doctor of Design candidate at Washington State University, Interdisciplinary Design Institute. She has a Master of Industrial Design degree from the University of New South Wales, Australia. Currently she is working on developing tools for the design of sustainable Product Service Systems (PSS). Her research focuses on employing systemic and quantitative approaches including System Dynamics modeling and simulation and Multiple Attribute Decision Making methods (MADM) for supporting more environmentally conscious design decisions.

Dr. David Wang

Professor of Architecture, Interdisciplinary Design Institute, Washington State University, Spokane, WA, USA

David Wang is Professor of Architecture at Washington State University. He is co-author (with Linda Groat) of Architectural Research Methods, currently going into its second edition. Recent journal articles include Kuhn on Architectural Style (ARQ, 3/2009), Holding Creativity Together: A Sociological Theory of the Design Professions (with A. Ilhan, Design Issues, 2/2009), and A Structure for Collaborative Design (with I. Oygur, The Design Journal, in press for 12/2010).

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