For better understanding of what makes up service innovation we need to fill in far too many gaps at present. I’m hopeful that the forthcoming book of Henry Chesbrough: “Open Services Innovation: Rethinking your Business to Grow and Compete in a New Era”, published by Jossey-Bass and being launching officially next week, 18th January 2011, will go some of the way to be a lightning rod to bringing this up in many people’s agenda, if it is not already! I felt with his past books on Open Innovation and Open Business Innovation they were the catalysts for deeper thinking. He provided the stimulus to find better answers with his many reflections and case studies through his solid research work and his ‘open’ and questioning thinking to prompt community ‘reactions’. This galvanized significant innovation movements and this time hopefully, it will be to open up and manage service innovation more effectively.
I will be completing a book review on this latest open innovation thinking by Dr.Chesbrough for www.innovationmanagement.se as an early February publication and I’m certainly looking forward to reading the final edition of this book when it arrives. I’ve glance through different early teasers, complimentary pages and seen some advances to raise my expectations on this but understanding service innovation has been poorly understood and documented to date. It is a complex and needs some different perspectives and thinking.
Dealing with the service side of innovation seems to have always been tricky. As the more ‘advanced’ economies or the ‘developed’ world extracts knowledge, its future understanding and extraction seems tied to really understanding and delivering service. Increasingly goods being produced is flowing east, service experience and delivery will not be far behind unless this becomes the critical focus of Western countries to master and own for the next few years.
I’ve read a significant amount about the subject of service innovation, often it is been very fragmented and poorly connected in many different lacking ways; in its empirical evidence, analytical and theoretical frameworks and laying out a cohesive design. Let us hope Dr. Chesbrough’s book gives us a more solid basis to build upon and extend out.
For me we have different focal points within service that need to be thought through some more, these are
- Centred on People– how we set about consumer services for example, how we enable engagement and develop these connections to build a sustaining business around individual’s needs is critical to understand
- Centred on Business– again what connects the parties into a service relationship and what ‘transforms’ from this dialogue and set of exchanges into something that gives value to all the participators and builds on the existing to transform it into something of new worth.
- Centred on Products– where design becomes more critical to gain appeal and attention but then how to build from this ‘sale’ to operate, maintain and grow further services around these products sold
- Centred on Information– the creation of knowledge and them being able to adapt it, leverage its utilization and diffuse it in new and valuable ways.
All of the above four require different understanding, a different science of service. All have a very high social- organizational need; all are lending themselves to being opened up.
An urgent ‘call to action’
We do need an urgent’ call to action’, we need a science of services to understand how this needs to evolve, what the different types of service focus requires look, how the service systems should evolve and scale.
The call to action does need to be a concerted effort-
a) it needs to take increasing Governments attention to remove barriers and promote service,
b) it needs businesses to give the necessary ‘weight of emphasis’ service deserves as service relevance to the organization is increasingly faster than producing products and this call to refocus internal resources needs to be recognised;
c) academics need to make service an increased priority for studies, for educational productivity and providing the platforms for research understanding and
d) Societal impact needs a better service understanding.
Also knowing how to measure service is another big challenge.
Then we need to improve our level of measures for service. The growing need for measuring networks, interactions and relationships is extremely relevant to this area of innovation. Also the ability to measure operations and delivery excellence and thirdly the service value chain, the partnerships needed and the service excellence points understood from the client/ final consumer’s point of view.
There are seemingly many challenges and unknowns for service innovation today. We do need to get systematic about service innovation and make it more of a dynamic evolution.
Optimism and openness to fresh insight is indeed needed
I hope Dr. Henry Chesbrough’s book is the catalyst for this. Like his 2003 book, Open Innovation, it kicked off a whole new way to manage outside those internal organisational borders, let’s hope he ignites the open touch paper again in this book for service innovation. A further work of his around the importance of the Business model is very much in the present minds of many and some excellent frameworks are presently help us in thinking these through like Alex Osterwalder’s Business model generation and its nine exploring blocks, or Mark Johnson’s and his four-box business model framework. Both of these you will find comments within this blog or the book reviews I have previously made for www.innovationmanagement.se.
We really need a better acceleration of service innovation and its greater understanding for regaining growth in the Western economies and if it is throwing services open then let’s go! I think service innovation is going to be very topical, highly critical in the coming months and years to grasp, tranlate and perform as we need service excellence to thrive and in the West, survive from service’s increased contribution in wealth formation to the economies and its role in necessary job creation.