When  designing a PSS, designers try to find a balance between flexibility and control to create effective and socially responsible value for users and other stakeholders.
GRIP was about how designers achieve a balance between flexibility and control when designing PSS, leading to the creation of effective and socially responsible value for users and other stakeholders. When designing from a system perspective, the creative control of design is structurally lower than in product design. The designers have to deal with complex, dynamic environments and need to negotiate decisions with a range of stakeholders. The PSS development process is less formalized and is characterized by a high level of co-creation and co-production. This raises questions like how tight should  the designer's grip on the processes and outcomes of design be, when working together with end-users and other partners in PSS development?

What questions were being answered?
Teams from 3 universities and Industry partners were working together to answer the question: How do designers strike a balance between flexibility versus control when designing PSS, leading to the creation of effective and socially responsible value for users and other stakeholders?

What have the teams achieved?
Using generalised cases, the team has monitored and measured work related stress in the office environment in order to gain a broader understanding of the problems of the issues of flexibility and control. This helped to create the methodological support needed for the design of effective and commercially viable PSS with a high societal value.

Timeframe and communication:
Grip started in 2011 and finished in 2015. Throughout the project, we have published in a range of professional journals, including the development of manuals for the effective design of healthcare and service industry PSS. Progress was published via this website and explored in workshops.

Who was involved?
Scientific partners: Delft University of Technology, Eindhoven University of Technology and the Design Academy Eindhoven;
Industry partner: Philips Design.

Project leaders
dr. Evelien van de Garde, Delft University of Technology
Dr. Dirk Snelders, Eindhoven University of Technology 


  • Can there be a design of service? Dirk Snelders Reflection on what is a service and how to design it.

    Keynote address at the 1st Cambridge Academic Design Management Conference, Cambridge, September 2011. 
  • GRIP Book VOL1: results & conclusions Thompson, M., Van de Garde, E., Geurts, L. & Ullerup, H Review of Expert Day 22nd June 2011 at Philips Design Download
  • Interface design in services: A postphenomenological approach Secomandi, F., & Snelders, D This article explores the widespread belief among service design researchers that the “interface” (i.e., the domain of interaction between service providers and clients) constitutes an object of design activity in services Download
  • Interface matters: Postphenomenological perspectives on service design Secomandi, F. Delft University of Technology (PhD thesis, cum laude).
    The start of this thesis predates the start of CRISP GRIP and is not explicitly part of CRISP GRIP, but it has served as an important parallel activity next to the GRIP project, and may also be of relevance to the other CRISP projects.
  • Job Stress: From taboo to business Van de Garde, E., Thompson, M., Geurts, L., Ullerup, H. & Perez, M. Workshop for Service Design Network Conference 2011 in San Francisco, October 2011. Download
  • New goals for design, new roles for designers? Raijmakers, Thompson, & van de Garde This explorative paper reflects on experiences of design researchers with such work and discusses implications for both design education and creative industries, in particular regarding facilitation and empathy as key skills in the design of innovative services.

    Paper presented at the Cumulus Conference in Helsinki, June 2012. content/uploads/2012/05/New goals for design new roles for designers. pdf
  • The object of service design Secomandi, F., & Snelders, D  What to design when design a service

    Design Issues 27 (3), 20 34 (This article is not explicitly connected to CRISP GRIP, but it served as an important basis for writing the GRIP subproject in 2010).
  • Getting a GRIP on work-related stress: designing services with users and other committed stakeholders Garde-Perik,E. vn de; Snelders,D.; Thompson, M. The paper discusses implications for the design of co-created multi-stakeholder PSS, by introducing the Grip Service Model, which allows committed partners to bring in their expertise, and to foresee and exploit their personal/commercial opportunities. The GRIP approach to the design of PSS can be seen as a combination between a classical User Centred Design process, and a collaborative process of New Service Design.  Download
  • Design and semantics of form and movement Garde-Perik, E. van de, Trevia, F., Henriksson, A., Geurts L., Ullerup,H. After 1,5 years of research the GRIP project decided to develop the relaxation space, which offers employees an adaptive environment that reacts to their presence by creating a personal environment, varying in size, sounsdscape and animated light. The environment stimulates paced breathing, meditation and helps employees to become more aware and in control of their personal response to stressors and relaxation.  Download
  • Design strategies for human relations in services Garde-Perik, E. van de, Trevia, F., Snelders, D. This paper investigates the degree of control that designers might have over human relations in services, and looks into the capacity of design to promote discussion and social support, and its capacity to make objects act as ‘quasi- others’ in social encounters. Three design interventions are presented that have made changes to the material circumstance in which contacts among users and providers take place.  Download
  • Strategic Creativity Series 05: Stressed out Thompson, M., Van de Garde, E., Snelders, D. Chapter Servicing Stress: Explains GRIP Services Model v6, and introduces other chapters of the publication 'Stressed out 2014'.
    Chapter Loosening the GRIP: Introduces 6 examples of student projects of Design Academy Eindhoven and Eindhoven University of Technology exploring the concept of data collection and data visualisation as proposed in the GRIP project.
    Chapter Service for all: Introduces GRIP Services Model v7, which positions GRIP as a support service for developing specific design capabilities, or design expertise, within social/industrial domains, that are becoming increasingly data intensive (e.g. Stress and healthcare).
  • Adaptive Relaxation Space: ruimte voor werkstressvermindering Junte, J. Article reviewing the relaxation space Download
  • Celebrating 90 years of design Philips Article by Philips on 90 years of design within Philips including the relaxation space as example of meaningful innovation Download
  • Getting a GRIP on Work Related Stress: Design & Evaluation of a Nature Inspired Relaxation Space Van de Garde Perik, E, Trevia, F., Henriksson, A., Geurts, L., Ullerup, H. The paper presents the design rationale and subsequent evaluation of the relaxation space 1.0. Experts with backgrounds in design, research and healthcare have evaluated the design of the relaxation space, which resulted in very positive responses regarding the low effort required and the high quality of the relaxation experience provided by the design.
  • Design changes design design united magazine reviewing several prototypes Download
  • Getting a GRIP at the Design of a nature inspired relaxation space for work related stress Garde-Perik, E. van de, Trevia, F., Henriksson, A., Geurts L., Ullerup,H. This paper presents the work that has been conducted as part of the GRIP project about work-related stress  in combination with the nature inspired design consortium. Download
  • Ventura Lambrata Booklet Booklet introducing Ventura Lambrata Download
  • Thinking through making Raijmakers, B. & Arets, D. Download
  • Positive design interventions to address stress at work. Van de Garde Perik, E., Snelders, D., & Geurts, L The GRIP project explored the potential of design to positively support people in balancing job demands and resources, or work and relaxation. Download


  • ReSeat

    ReSeat is an intelligent office chair recognising sitting postures and behaviour, and their association to stress. Responding to this data the chair mechanically adapts through tilting, to stabilise or destabilise your position, thus physically reinforcing your stress awareness.
  • Breathe-E

    Breathe-e, can be used within the relaxation space 3.0 to measure HRV and breathing rate during a relaxation session in order to customize the behavior of the installation to personal parameters.
  • Chaos vs Stress: Solar Desk

    Chaos vs. Stress is about periods of stress, and how you can see the chaos in someone’s mind reflected in his/her environment (e.g. Computer screen, work desk). Solar desk stops energy supply when the chaos has become too much.
  • The Office Pet: Submissive Office Stationery

    Office pet aims at releasing tension generated by stress and at collecting information about the most stressful moments in a day at work by promoting physical agression through hitting office stationery. The data are  recorded every time a device gets hit, are collected and comparable over time.
  • Typing Stress

    In typing stress products & tools that we use in our daily work are used to gather and visualize data concerning behavior changes that are caused by stress. Data regarding stress is collected through the keyboard (e.g. pressure applied while typing, number of times backspace is used).
  • GRIP service model

    Stress at work may be unhealthy but is also necessary, at some level, in order to be alert when required – how to find the right balance can differ according to the context and situation. This makes stress a typical topic for Product Service System design – where designers look for a balance between control over the outcome of their work, and flexibility in accommodating a multitude of changing circumstances and contexts. Such designs follow certain principles and are based on models, but have many different (and sometimes unforeseen) outcomes and results. The GRIP service model is a prime example.
  • Adaptive Relaxation Space

    Work-related stress opens up a wide range of end-users and stakeholders: The employee himself, his co-workers, coaches, family and friends and so on. There are laws and regulations and some of the players in this field are commercially based, some are social organisations. The question for our team was: What is the added value of designers in this case? What is here to be designed? We have started by doing some speculative design research and then focused on the Philips prototype for a relaxation space. The adaptive relaxation space combines several proven technologies. It features pulsing light, which brings down your heart rate. The sound in the room and some other multi-sensory aspects adapt to the number of persons in the room.  
  • Rhythm Pad

    Device that enhances breathing relaxation through physical movement
  • Zen Pebbles

  • Fragrant Breaks Reminder

    Fragrant Breaks Reminder releases frangrance to temporarily distract you from work, and subtly remind you to take a coffee, perform some physical activity, go into nature, or take a break.
  • Reco

    Smartphone app that provides feedback on stress level and tips for relaxation.
  • Kükle

    Kükle was developed for self-reflection and informative reflection to others, which can be used as stress reliever.
  • Beauty of Stress

    Beautiful visualisation of stress levels within a group by ink droplets in water. The Beauty of Stress assesses aggregate stress levels of a group of workers over the course of the day. It provides feedback by publically displaying beautiful colour patterns. 
  • Little Devil

    Object to display level of stress to worker and colleagues through negative reinforcement ("an excuse for non-smokers to take a break"). Little Devil registers how long office workers sit at their desk uninterruptedly. Placed on top of the desk, the object shows the progressive build-up of stress, up to a point where it ‘chases’ workers away from their desks.
  • Co-cup

    Stimulates social connection & break taking between remote colleagues by connected coffee cups. Co-Cup is intended for home workers to share coffee breaks with remote colleagues. They do so by drinking from smart cups that are connected to each other and to an application for casual video communication.