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Created by Adminsske on 13 May 2012, at 16:52


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Service systems are dynamic configurations of people, technologies, organisations and shared information that create and deliver value to customers, providers and other stakeholders. They form a growing proportion of the world economy and are becoming central to the way businesses,  governments, families and individuals work. Innovation, aterm applied almost exclusively to technologies in the past, is increasingly used in relation to service systems.

Ideas of service are, of course, not new. However, the scale, complexity and interdependence of today’s service systems have been driven to an unprecedented level, due to globalisation, demographic changes and technology developments. The rising significance of service and the accelerated rate of change mean that service innovation is now a major challenge to practitioners in business and government as well as to academics in education and research. A better understanding of service systems is required.

Many individual strands of knowledge and expertise relating to service systems already exist, but they often lie in unconnected silos. This no longer reflects the reality of interconnected economic activities which, for example, sees manufacturers of engineering products adopting service-oriented business models and health care providers learning lessons from modern manufacturing operations. Indeed, there are wide gaps in our knowledge and skills across silos.

In response, Service Science, Management and Engineering (SSME), or in short Service Science, is emerging as a distinct field. Its vision is to discover the
underlying logic of complex service systems and to establish a common language and shared frameworks for service innovation. To this end, an interdisciplinary approach should be adopted for research and education on service systems.

Developing Service Science is no easy task; it not only requires intensive collaboration across academic disciplines but also a doubling of R&D investment in service education and research by governments and businesses. All stakeholders must start to engage each other and make plans for service innovation.

For those responsible for creating a service innovation roadmap, this white paper provides a starting point to raise awareness. For those who have already developed such roadmaps, it serves as a benchmark for improvement. More specifically, drawing upon the expertise and experience of leading academics and senior practitioners, this document makes the following interrelated recommendations:

For education: Enable graduates from various disciplines to become T-shaped professionals or adaptive innovators; promote SSME education programmes and qualifications; develop a modular template-based SSME curriculum in higher education and extend to other levels of education; explore new teaching methods  for SSME education.

For research: Develop an interdisciplinary and intercultural approach to service research; build bridges between disciplines through grand research challenges;
establish service system and value proposition as foundational concepts; work with practitioners to create data sets to understand the nature and behaviour of
service systems; create modelling and simulation tools for service systems.

For business: Establish employment policies and career paths for T-shaped professionals; review existing approaches to service innovation and provide grand
challenges for service systems research; provide funding for service systems research; develop appropriate organisational arrangements to enhance industryacademic collaboration; work with stakeholders to include sustainability measures.

For government: Promote service innovation and provide funding for SSME education and research; demonstrate the value of Service Science to government agencies; develop relevant measurements and reliable data on knowledgeintensive service activities; make public service systems more comprehensive and citizen-responsive; encourage public hearings, workshops and briefings with other stakeholders to develop service innovation roadmaps.

Service Science is still in its infancy; but we are confident that, by adopting these recommendations, we can accelerate its development and place ourselves in a better position to create and benefit from service innovation in the future.

Executive summary

1. Introduction
1.1 The demand for service innovation
1.2 New skills and knowledge required
1.3 Service Science: an emerging field
1.4 Drawing the threads together: the white paper
1.5 Key concepts

2. Clarifying the rationale and defining the domain
2.1 What is a service system?
2.2 Why are we interested in service systems?
2.3 What is the vision for Service Science?
2.4 Who are the stakeholders of Service Science?
2.5 Why now?

3. Recognising the foundations and identifying the gaps
3.1 What foundations have been laid by existing theories?
3.2 Where is the knowledge gap?
3.3 Where is the skill gap?

4. Working together to bridge the gaps
4.1 What are the possible approaches to addressing the gaps?
4.2 Where are the opportunities to address the knowledge gap?
4.3 Where are the opportunities to address the skill gap?

5. Recommendations
5.1 Recommendations for education
5.2 Recommendations for research
5.3 Recommendations for business
5.4 Recommendations for government

6. Taking it forward


I: History and future outlook of service research
II: Contributor list
III: Respondent list
IV: Service sector in global economies
V: Business challenges for service research
VI: Global trends and service innovation
VII: Example of innovation roadmap
VIII: Ongoing debate


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