Service Innovation: an All-inclusive PhD Course
Four professors, four countries, four different views on service management research and service innovation. This was a PhD course organized by CSI last week. Service-dominant logic, service design, new service development, co-creation, customer experiences, service infusion in manufacturing, service systems – it is just a very short list of the perspectives, concepts and areas that were covered by this course.
For example, Prof. Bo Edvardsson (Karlstad University, Sweden) highlighted his many years’ research on service management. He showed how service literature had been developing from breaking free from product marketing and putting forward service specific characteristics to understanding service as a perspective on value creation where services and products are viewed as enablers in co-creation of value.
Prof. Stephen Vargo (University of Hawai’I, USA), the co-founder of service-dominant logic, presented ideas that “all economies are service economies” and “all businesses are service business”. “Vargo described service as the process of using one’s competences (e.g. firm) for the benefit of some party (e.g. customers). In this worldview goods are only distribution mechanisms (value-propositions) for service provision – it is the value for the customer that is central” – Birgit A. Solem (NHH) shares her experience.
By using examples of his empirical studies on open innovation mainly in manufacturing, Prof. Keld Laursen (CBS, Denmark) showed how quantitative methods could be used in service research. He emphasized importance of number of external sources for innovation (search breadth) and intensity of relations with them (search depth), as well as a crucial role of organization practices in managing customer interaction. “The way of studying dimensions has impressed me, – Ganesh P. Neupane (NHH) says. – I believe this might help me in finding some new dimensions for my respective paradigm”.
Finally, Prof. Bruce Tether (Manchester Business School, UK) talked about systems of innovation, service design and special roles of KIBS. On the example of Heathrow airport, he described the way to improve the whole system by finding and re-designing the key weakest link. “So is there really a need to study services separately at all?” – he cunningly asked the audience at the end of the course.
“I am half way in my PhD project and find myself at many crossroads, both theoretically and methodologically. – Hin Hoarau Heemstra (UiN) confesses. – This course helped a lot to find directions and guidance for studying innovation by providing an overview and different paradigms”. “And it’s always a great opportunity to hear directly from the big names in the academic arena as well as to interact with leading scholars in my research area. What more could I wish for?” – Mohammad Touhid Hossain (NHH) enthusiastically adds.