“value is defined by and co-created with the
consumer rather than embedded in output [ 14].”
The “make-and-sell” strategy of linear value
chains gives way to the “sense-and-respond”
strategy of self-reinforcing “value cycles.” Lusch
described traditional goods-centered dominant
logic as focused on “operand resources,” tangible
assets with inherent value. He contrasted that
logic with emerging service-centered dominant
logic focused on “operant resources”—intangible
assets that create value in their use, such as
skills, technologies, and knowledge. He also
pointed out that service logic is not only compatible with the idea of a learning organization, but
it may actually require one.
sometimes service varies from one experience to
Product as Object
Connected (via (APIs)
Takes longer to develop
Takes more effort to unseat
[ 13] Dubberly, Hugh,
and Paul Pangaro.
service-craft: language for
Kybernetes 36, no. 9/10
Traditional Goods-dominant logic
Role of goods Operand resources
Emerging Service-dominant logic
[ 14] Lusch, Robert F., and
Stephen L. Vargo, eds.
The Service Dominant
Logic of Marketing: Dialog,
Debate, and Directions.
Ne w York: M. E. Sharpe,
Tangible Intangible (e.g.,
Operand resource Operant resource
Asymmetric information Symmetric information
Value added Value in use
before use Value proposition
Transaction On-going relationship
Adapted from Robert Lusch by Shelley Evenson
Nicholas Negroponte has famously contrasted
“atoms and bits.” The physical, tangible, here-and-now aspect of products as objects makes
them relatively easier to evaluate than services.
This characteristic is one of the things that
makes products easier to manage than services. A CEO can pick up a product appearance
model and immediately evaluate it, compare it
to another, and decide how to proceed. Even a
complex product like a car can be evaluated relatively quickly. But services are much harder to
evaluate. Services cannot be apprehended all at
once; they must be experienced over time. And
The mechanical-object/organic-system dichotomy also appears vividly in discussions about
ecology. Much of our economy still depends on
“consumers” buying products, which we eventually throw “away.” William McDonough and
Michael Braungart have pointed out that there is
no “away,” that in nature, “waste is food.” They
urged us to think in terms of “cradle to cradle”
cycles of materials use, and they suggested manufacturers lease products and reclaim them for
reuse [ 15]. Theirs is another important perspective on the idea of product as service.
Architects, too, have begun to design for disassembly and reconfiguration. Herman-Miller
recently published a manifesto on programmable
environments, talking about the need for “
pliancy” in the built environment and echoing the
language of The Cathedral and the Bazaar while discussing building design [ 16].
Sustainable design is emerging as an issue of
intense concern for designers, manufacturers,
and the public. The same sort of systems thinking required for software and service design is
also required for sustainable design. This provides further impetus for changing our approach
to design education.
Stuart Walker, professor of environmental
design at the University of Calgary, has written,
“Only by fundamentally changing our approaches
to deal with the new circumstances can we hope
to develop new models for design and production
that are more compatible with sustainable ways
of living. Wrestling with existing models and trying to modify them is not an effective strategy.”
[ 15] McDonough, William,
and Michael Braungart.
Cradle to Cradle:
Remaking the Way We
Make Things. Ne w York:
North Point Press, 2002.
[ 16] Long, Jim, Magnolfi,
Jennifer, and Lois
Maasen. Always Building:
Mich: Herman Miller
Creative Office, 2008.
September + October 2008