Understanding and Facilitating Joint Innovation in Smart Product-Service Systems



The current trends of servitization and digitalization challenge today’s business world to rethink existing value propositions and business models. In this context, combining traditional physical products with new digital services, which are empowered by sensors and connectivity, in so-called smart (Product-)Service Systems (sPSS) provides a great opportunity for innovation.

However, innovating and designing such sPSS-solutions typically requires close collaboration and partnerships with other actors providing complementary assets, resources and knowledge. This joint innovation across company borders in service ecosystems poses particular challenges for today’s business world.

Research Goal

As part of the publicly funded research project bi.smart (www.bismart.info), you can contribute with your thesis to better understand, and thereby facilitate innovation of such smart product-service systems (sPSS). In this context, we offer different potential topics to tackle the phenomena of sPSS and service ecosystems from different perspectives:

  • Development of a tool to match existing data pools and innovation ideas with typical application scenarios of sPSS-solutions
  • Creation of a procedure to systematically assess the viability of different design options for sPSS revenue models
  • Comparison of multiple technological approaches that enable and facilitate the sharing of information for collaborative innovation in a (smart) service ecosystem (e.g., Blockchain, Transfer Learning, Open APIs, …)
  • Identifying suitable approaches for keystone actors (e.g., OEMs, global players) to foster the engagement of other actors in the service ecosystem (e.g., customers, third-party service providers)

Further, we are open to your suggestions to contribute to the phenomena of sPSS and smart service ecosystems in a practice-oriented, yet theoretically sound manner.

Your Profile

  • You are interested in the emerging research field of smart product-service systems and data ecosystems
  • You have a self-organized and goal-oriented working mode, including the motivation to bring in own ideas and work accurately
  • You are open-minded and don’t hesitate to get in touch with professionals, e.g., throughout the interview study


  • Start: Immediately
  • Language: English / German

To apply for the thesis, please send a current transcript of records, a short CV, and a brief motivation (2-3 sentences) to Daniel Heinz (daniel.heinz∂kit.edu).