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Business Origami! Piecing Together Product Life Cycles in the Product-Service System
An exploratory and critical approach to product-service system mapping that helps students understand the complexity of social change and become active change-agents.


By: Kersty Hobson (Cardiff University)

Session type: Multiple sessions, Graduate level, Medium size


  • Sustainability impacts

  • Product-service system

  • Product life cycle 

  • Futures thinking


Introduction to the teaching example:

The idea is to get students to consider the difficulties of changing how goods and services are supplied more critically and thoroughly.


Students select an item they often use and create a holistic map of the product-service system using cutout shapes that depict the various stages of a product's existence. For instance, if a t-shirt is the subject of the investigation, researchers start by identifying the source of the cotton and go backward from there. Then they identify the system's problems and, over the period of a few weeks, consider how to alter it while taking into consideration the consequences, knock-on, and rebound effects of any suggested modifications. Students have discussions as a class on the potential design of this alternative, more sustainable model during this process.

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