ASU Center for Organization Research and Design

Critical Factors for Implementing and Diffusing Sustainable Product-Service Systems: Insights From Innovation Studies and Companies' Experiences

by Fabrizio Ceschin

Apr 1, 2013

Eco-efficient Product-Service System (PSS) innovations represent a promising approach to sustainability. However the adoption of such business strategies is still very limited because it often involves significant corporate, cultural and regulatory barriers. An important challenge is not only to conceive eco-efficient PSS concepts, but also to understand the contextual conditions that facilitate their societal embedding, and which strategies and development pathways are the most appropriate.The combination of theoretical insights from innovation studies (in particular Strategic Niche Management and Transition Management) and a case studies research (exploring the innovation journeys made by six companies in introducing their eco-efficient PSS innovations in the market) is used to investigate the factors that influence the implementation and diffusion of this kind of innovations. The article provides a structured overview of these factors, grouping them in four clusters: implementation of socio-technical experiments; establishment of a broad network of actors; building up of a shared project vision; creation of room for broad and reflexive learning processes.Based on these results it is argued that a broader and more strategic system approach should be adopted by companies. Companies should focus not only on the PSS solution and its value chain, but also on the contextual conditions that may favour or hinder the societal embedding of the PSS itself. The article concludes by outlining a key area for future research.

Critical Factors for Implementing and Diffusing Sustainable Product-Service Systems: Insights From Innovation Studies and Companies' Experiences