Ana Laura Rodrigues Santos, Jairo Da Costa Junior, and Linda Wauben
This paper is a follow-up of the study presented at RSD2, System Design Perspective of Healthcare Provision in Humanitarian Aid, where a systems approach was proposed to address complex problems in challenging societal contexts.
The study focuses on an elective course called Product-Service Systems from the Industrial Design Engineering Master Programme provided by the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering at Delft University of Technology (DUT) in collaboration with the Federal University of Paraná in Brazil and the innovation section of the international organisation Medécins Sans Frontières in Sweden. Our aim is to describe the advantages and challenges of the use of a systems design approach when addressing the need for affordable energy in low-income households in Brazil and the need for humanitarian aid for sterilisation and cold chain monitoring.
One particular challenge shared by humanitarian organisations and governments when providing services such as healthcare and energy to populations or local institutions with poor financial and infrastructural resources is the need for alternatives to traditional business. To succeed, these stakeholders need to adopt several unconventional tasks like product distribution and servicing, which, in most cases, customers or end-users are not capable of affording. In resource-limited social contexts, the complexity and ambiguity between the interests within the network of stakeholders is higher than in traditional businesses, and the end user is mostly considered a passive recipient, dependent on their own coping mechanisms to benefit from the provided services.