2007/04/27 17:25 Jim Spohrer, "Steps Toward a Science of Service Systems"

2007/04/27 17:25 Jim Spohrer, "Steps Toward a Science of Service Systems", Innovation in Services Conference, Berkeley, California

This digest was created in real-time during the meeting, based on the speaker's presentation(s) and comments from the audience. The content should not be viewed as an official transcript of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mistakes may not have been corrected. Questions about content should be directed to the originator. The digest has been made available for purposes of scholarship, posted on the Coevolving Innovations web site by David Ing.


Jim Spohrer, IBM Research

What we're thinking about service science these days

Service Innovation

  • High Talent
  • High Tech
  • 2 people at Wikipedia enable 36,000 contibutors
  • eBay, 13000 employees, 724,000 people have primary or secondary source of income from eBay
  • Lots of platforms, like Second Life

High talent and high tech miss understanding customer intimacy and partner value networks (shared information and trust)

  • Credit cards are a great service innovation, lots of people had to change behaviours

Bigger:  Regulatory, Institutional and Social Context changes

  • Think of a world without mass education

Why does IBM care?

  • Look at profit margins in the two service businesses (29% to 23%), compared to software (83%)
  • Scaling problem

We need some more shared vocabulary

  • Service systems ... value propositions
  • Service systems are designed
  • Service systems evolve, they're complex systems
  • Service systems have scale-emergent properties

Purpose of service systems ais value co-creation

  • Prisoner's dilemma, we'd like win-win
  • Has been a lot of different names: North economic institutions, Barnard's cooperation systems; Trist socio-technical systems; Englebart augmentation systems; Normann's value creation systems
  • Value is in the eye of the beholder; trust matters, transaction costs matter

There's a lot of relationships (Gadrey, 2002)

Working on:  how to invest to get systematic improvement in services?

  • Think of benefits of Moore's law, which is an investment model
  • What if we could create a Moore's law of innovation systems

Barnard, 1930s:  Cooperative Systems, hard to read, but good

Richard Normann

Universities, hospitals, call centres, data centres, cities, nations

Trying to understand service systems:

  • Design
  • Improvements
  • Scaling
  • Profits scales up in information rapidly, but it's slow in labour

IBM Service Research Agenda

Study: Designing IT-enabled B2B services

Service Research and Innovation Initiative, May 30 in Santa Clara

  • IBM and Oracle

Michigan Tech got NSF Funding to help develop new undergrad curriculum


Service systems as a way to start, because if you leave integration to the end, it's hard

Role of research in services?

  • IBM invests $150M per year in services research, which is 1/6 of IBM after 4 years
  • Lots of low-hanging fruit
  • Practitioners are gravitating to this profession

Biggest challenge

  • Trust
  • People don't have the knowledge and experience to do the right thing

Moving ahead the research agenda on services?

  • If you don't have business impact, it doesn't matter
  • Still publishing in too many different journals, no sense of community

Service systems, moves us away from centering on firms.  But when you get to systems, how to delimit.

  • There are many types of service systems
  • Paul Seaburg, the companion of strangers