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Towards sustainable product development – Insights from testing and evaluating a profile model for management of sustainability integration into design requirements
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Strategic Sustainable Development.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0813-3193
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Strategic Sustainable Development.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7382-1825
2022 (English)In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 346, article id 131000Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Product development and manufacturing continues to be a profound contributor to the socio-ecological problems and challenges we are facing in our world today. For products to contribute to sustainability requires not only that socio-ecological lifecycle impacts are considered in the initial stages of the product innovation process, but that they are maintained as integral product requirements. Although research offers a plethora of approaches, methods, and tools for sustainable product development, the implementation in industry remains low. The focus of this research is a less explored area of sustainable product development implementation, the management of needs identification and propagation of design requirements. The purpose is to: i) add to state of knowledge about current practices of sustainability integration into requirements, and ii) the academic discussion on implementation of sustainable design and product development. A self-assessment approach for sustainability integration into requirements is tested. The purpose of the approach is to support improvement of the requirements management process design, including activities and competencies, for engineering design. Four Swedish product development and manufacturing companies tested the approach, from which the results are used to evaluate usefulness, usability, and effect potential. The findings are discussed together with key characteristics for requirements and sustainability criteria, providing insights to ensure that socio-ecological considerations are both influencing the initial requirement specification, and maintained as decision parameters throughout the product development process.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2022. Vol. 346, article id 131000
Keywords [en]
Sustainable product developmentRequirementsTraceabilityTrade-offsSustainability criteriaSustainable designImplementation
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Applied Mechanics
Research subject
Strategic Sustainable Development
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-22727DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2022.131000ISI: 000820084900001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85126514521OAI: oai:DiVA.org:bth-22727DiVA, id: diva2:1643128
Part of project
Model Driven Development and Decision Support – MD3S, Knowledge Foundation
Funder
Knowledge Foundation, 20180159
Note

open access

Available from: 2022-03-08 Created: 2022-03-08 Last updated: 2022-08-11Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Towards sustainable product development through a lens of requirements
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Towards sustainable product development through a lens of requirements
2022 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Product development companies’ attention and desire to contribute to sustainable development is growing fast but requires new capabilities. The socioecological systems constitute a complex landscape of operating conditions from which product development identify needs for new products. Correct needs interpretation is essential to ensure that the requirements that the needs are transformed into do represent the shared understanding of the design problem that is to be solved. However, companies find it challenging to integrate sustainability into requirements. Socioecological criteria therefore tend to be down prioritized in trade-offs with traditionally identified requirements for engineering design.

This thesis asks the following question: “In which ways can decision-making practices for requirements development and management support sustainable product development?” and aims to provide deeper knowledge to academia and support product development companies that wish to advance their contribution to sustainable development. A mainly qualitative research design using exploratory, descriptive, and prescriptive studies clarifies the research gap, and proposes and evaluates novel approaches to improve the state of knowledge and practice. These research studies are represented by the seven publications within this thesis. The first was a systematic literature review on current methods and tools for sustainability integration into requirements. Thereafter followed a multiple-case study with semi-structured interviews at seven Swedish product development companies. A model of five key elements of sustainability integration in requirements was proposed, which in a third, focus group case study with four companies, was developed into, and tested as, a self-assessment tool. The results were discussed in relation to theory on requirements engineering and sustainability design criteria, which emphasized that companies lack capabilities to contextualize requirements development using wider sustainability- and systems perspectives. Decision-makers responsible for requirements weighting need to anchor sustainability as a value driver which requires transparency and traceability in decision-support. A fourth study therefore explored sustainability integration in value modelling for concept selection, and a fifth study proposed an approach to guide sustainability criteria development following requirement characteristics. The sixth study proposed an approach to inform requirement analysis through improved systems contextualization, transparency, and shared understanding of sustainability in relation to other design objectives. Finally, the seventh study provided an outlook and initial discussion to guide the identification of value drivers on a macro-level in society which could leverage an increased uptake of sustainability-oriented requirements in product development

Altogether this thesis provides insights and approaches to guide companies to advance towards sustainable product development through the lens of requirements. Examples include key characteristics of, and principles for, identifying sustainability criteria and developing requirements using strategic sustainability thinking, as well as a support tool for guiding activities in different steps of the requirements development. The findings can also be used in education of future engineers and decision-makers, and for continued research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlskrona: Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, 2022
Series
Blekinge Institute of Technology Doctoral Dissertation Series, ISSN 1653-2090 ; 2022:02
Keywords
Strategic sustainable development, sustainable product development, sustainable design, product design, sustainability criteria, requirements development, requirements, system analysis, group model building
National Category
Engineering and Technology Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Applied Mechanics
Research subject
Strategic Sustainable Development
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:bth-22730 (URN)978-91-7295-436-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2022-06-02, J1630, Campus Gräsvik, Karlskrona, 09:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Knowledge Foundation, 2199
Available from: 2022-03-10 Created: 2022-03-09 Last updated: 2022-05-05Bibliographically approved

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Watz, MatildaHallstedt, Sophie

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