The need for new product development capabilities from digitalization, sustainability, and servitization trends
Journal article, 2020

Apparent from the latest pandemic, the dynamics and rate of change in society accelerate on a global scale. Ongoing mega-trends in society, such as digitalization, sustainability, and servitization, fundamentally changes the conditions for manufacturers when developing and providing new products. This study clarifies the combined impact and consequences on product development capabilities in manufacturing firms of the three mega-trends: (i) digitalization, (ii) sustainability, and (iii) servitization. The research is based on a pre-study, complemented with a semi-structured interview study at small, medium-sized, and large Swedish-based manufacturing companies, and a systematic literature review. The research makes evident that the main challenge is to empower engineers and development teams to model, present, evaluate, and develop expected and smart digitalized solutions in a time-limited environment and prioritize the most resource efficient and sustainable solution. Therefore, four complementary support resources are suggested: (i) a knowledge management platform, (ii) a data management platform, (iii) a set of criteria and metrics measuring progression, and (iv) support methods and tools to define, model, and evaluate solutions. When integrated into a digital platform, developers can simultaneously access and process the necessary information needed for sustainable, digitalized, and servitized solutions.

Design capabilities




Manufacturing companies

Sustainable product development

Product-service systems



S.I. Hallstedt

Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, BTH

Ola Isaksson

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Product Development

Anna Öhrwall Rönnbäck

Luleå University of Technology


2071-1050 (ISSN)

Vol. 12 23 1-26 10222

Subject Categories

Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics



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