On 3 September an ambitious new centre for Service Innovation was launched in Amsterdam. The key focus of AMSI is education and research on management of service innovations. Various speakers during the launch event addressed the fact that eventhough services are nowadays key to our economy and society, a structured approach to research and education on service innovation is still falling far behind goods related studies and courses.
AMSI is supported by a consortium of organisations, academic as well as public and private (two universities of Amsterdam, Air France KLM, IBM, Rabobank, Novay and Amsterdam City). Apart from graduate courses (BA and MA) and academic research, AMSI will also offer an executive leadership program on managing service innovation (in collaboration with Berkeley University).
Larry Hirst, Chairman IBM Europe, Middle East & Africa, stressed in his talk that only very little of the R&D in companies is currently focused on services. This will need to change soon. Companies will need to recognize the value and urgency of structured and well-managed service innovation. The coalition of universities, government and companies represented in AMSI is in a good position to contribute to this.
Ian Miles, from the Manchester Institute of Innovation and Service Research, reiterated this point by stressing that in many service firms innovation is not a structured process but very much an ad hoc and distributed practice, taking place at the moment of the actual service encounters. It is a big challenge for these businesses to better manage their service innovation. This may imply considerable organisational changes.
Mark de Jong, director of Novay and co-founder of AMSI, explained that he sees three major challenges for services innovation:
– System thinking (be brave enough to fundamentally question your business model)
– Services as commodities (be focused on not only satisfying but delighting your customers)
– Opportunities of experimentation (be ready for the benefits of open innovation)