Current challenges and future research agenda
Proposal by Lia Patrício (academic partner of SDIN)
Service innovation is a strategic priority for service research and for organizations trying to find new ways of cocreating value with customers and to improve their competitive positioning (Ostrom, Parasuraman et al. 2015). From a service logic perspective, innovative services are not defined in terms of their new features, but in terms of how they change customer thinking, participation, and capabilities to create and realize value (Michel, Brown et al. 2008). Service design is framed as a holistic, multidisciplinary field that helps to innovate services so they are useful, usable and desirable to the customer, and effective, efficient and distinctive to the service provider (Mager and Sung 2011). Service design plays a key role in service innovation, as it brings innovative ideas to life through a design thinking process. It enables service providers to develop scenarios of solutions that do not yet exist and to prototype them. However, service design and service innovation frameworks are still dispersed, lacking integration, systematisation and widespread usage across organisations.
The need for better integration of service design and service innovation processes becomes ever more important as the evolution of the service environment raises new challenges for organisations. First, in spite of the rapid growth of the service design and service innovation areas, there is still lack of integration and systematisation of the frameworks and methods of the two fields. Further integration is needed to evolve service design as an interdisciplinary service research field, and to leverage its impact on service innovation. The second challenge is the more active role customers and other stakeholders play in the design of companies’ solutions and in co-creating their unique experiences. Organisations need to develop capacity to involve customers in the design of new services, and how to design services for more autonomous experience creation by customers. The third challenge is the increasing complexity of the service environment. Today’s service offerings are enabled by complex service systems, involving configurations of people, processes, technologies, physical evidence and other resources that enable value co-creation. Moreover, the competitive landscape is moving from the organisation’s service system level to the network level, as organisations increasingly form value networks that together offer more complete solutions to their customers and other actors involved.
Based on the literature review and the research developed under the Service Design for Innovation Marie Curie Innovative Training Network, this special session will provide an overview of the challenges of leveraging service design to foster service innovation, focusing on integrating service design and innovation methods and frameworks, involving customers and stakeholders in the design and innovation process, and addressing complex service systems and value networks. This special session will also present a research agenda in the area of service design for innovation, identifying future research directions.
Mager, B. and T.-J. D. Sung (2011). “Special Issue Editorial: Designing for Services.” International Journal of Design 5(2): 1-3.
Ostrom, A. L., A. Parasuraman, D. E. Bowen, L. Patrício and C. A. Voss (2015). “Service Research Priorities in a Rapidly Changing Context.” Journal of Service Research 18(2): 127-159.