University of Hertfordshire

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A Socio-technical experiment with a resource efficient Product Service System

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Original languageEnglish
Article number105364
Number of pages10
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Early online date29 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021


This paper describes a socio-technical experiment relating to a sustainable innovation project conducted in a protected niche or “living lab” and evaluates the ability of the experiment to generate learning and strategic direction. The study focused on a Product Service System (PSS) for renting infant mobility products to consumers. A PSS is a resource efficient system of products and services supported by networks and infrastructure. In the experiment, refurbished products were rented to 1044 families, with some products being reutilized three times. Learnings were generated through five stages: combining competences and resources, steering and facilitating change, engaging users at early stages, offering users opportunities to modify practices through trial and capturing and mediating mutual learning through knowledge co-creation. The observed environmental benefits included reduction of particulate plastic matter released into the environment and transportation of materials. Considerable barriers to the implementation of the PSS in the open market were identified, including attrition through loss or damage, product liability and consumer distrust in sharing products due to fear of contagion.


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