Digital dark matter within product service systems

Ferran Vendrell-Herrero, Vasileos Myrthianos, Glenn Parry, Oscar F. Bustinza

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)
    258 Downloads (Pure)


    Purpose – The unobserved benefits of digital technologies are described as digital dark matter.Product service systems (PSS) are bundles of products and services that deliver value in use; which is unobserved but generates benefits. This article empirically quantifies digital dark matter within product service systems and correlates that measure with national competitiveness.Design/methodology/approach – A novel methodology establishes the link between customer needs and a product & digital service portfolio offered across ten developed economies. The case context is the music industry where product and services are often substitutes – a cannibalistic PSS. Consumer information is obtained from a unique database of more than 18,000 consumer surveys. Consumer demand for digital formats is modelled and predicted through logistic regressions.Findings – The work provides inverse estimations for digital dark matter within product service systems by calculating the gap between supply and demand for digital offers - described as the business model challenge. The USA has the lowest business model challenge; the home of major companies developing digital technologies. Digital dark matter is shown to be positively correlated with national competitiveness and manufacturing competitiveness indices.Practical Implications – The success of a cannibalistic PSS requires good understanding of market demand. Governments embarking on soft innovation policies might incentivise the development of service orientated business models based on digital technologies.Originality/Value – Work expands theory on the concept of digital dark matter to the PSS literature. Empirically, a novel method is proposed to measure digital dark matter.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)62-79
    JournalCompetitiveness Review
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017


    • Business model
    • Digitalization
    • National Competitiveness
    • , Music industry, Product-Service portfolio, National Competitiveness
    • Music industry
    • Product-Service portfolio


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