Early stages of designing resource-efficient offerings : An initial view of their analysis and evaluation

Abstract: The increasing use of natural resources and the pollution it causes calls for new ways of addressing customer needs. Additionally, a more uncertain and complex world also presents new challenges. In this thesis, these new challenges are tackled through inter and transdisciplinary research, which require more interaction across disciplines to tackle complex phenomena.The manner in which companies address customer needs starts from the designing (a multiplestakeholder perspective) of offerings where companies rely on different types of support (guidelines, standards, methods and tools). In this thesis, these offerings, include products, services, systems, and solutions. This plays an important role in the use of natural resources and its impact on the environment. In this Licentiate, I present results to show initial cues on how to design resource-efficient offerings, and more specifically their analysis and evaluation in the early stages of the design process. This type of offerings is suggested to be crucial for the circular economy, which can be understood as a paradigm shift towards sustainability. In this paradigm shift, designing is carried out by taking into account reuse, remanufacture and recycling of products as strategies by multiple stakeholders and companies. Other strategies include providing services, a function or a solution through dematerialization and transmaterialization.The methods used in this research are narrative and systematic literature reviews, thematic analysis and a case study. The results show a lack of interdisciplinary research in the academic literature in subjects relevant to the design of resource-efficient offerings. The results also show a need to clarify what transdisciplinary research entails. Moreover, current practice shows that support used by companies needs to consider several factors for it to be useful, for example, the vision of the company, participation of potential users of the support and everyday operations, among other characteristics. Finally, more practical support coming from academia is necessary to improve its use in industry.

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