Twenty Years of Service Innovation Research
During the twenty-first century, the topic of service innovation has gained increasing attention and moved from the margins of innovation studies to a position of some significance. There has been an explosion of studies of one or other aspects of related topics – innovation in services, new service development and the like. It is impossible to review every single paper, report or even every book, and this chapter attempts instead to depict the broader trends and major themes in this literature. It suggests that we can conveniently differentiate between approaches that focus mainly on innovation in terms of new technology, as opposed to innovation in terms of new service features, and also between approaches that focus mainly on similarities between the major sectors of the economy and those that stress, especially, points that make service innovation distinctive. While service innovation is now far more integrated into the mainstream of innovation studies, this process is far from complete, and a wide variety of ideas as to how to move this forward are presented and debated. Current economic and technological trends, together with the need to confront grand challenges, such as demographic change and environmental sustainability, make it likely that this field of study will continue to attract growing attention and quite possibly feature an even wider variety of approaches.