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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

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