Productivity, Innovation and Knowledge in Services

Productivity, Innovation and Knowledge in Services

New Economic and Socio-Economic Approaches

Edited by Jean Gadrey and Faïz Gallouj

Written by some of the most distinguished authors in the field, this book elucidates the critical and complex relationships between services, production and innovation. The authors discuss the limitations of current theories to explain service productivity and innovation, and call for a conceptual re-working of the ways in which these are measured. They also highlight the important role of knowledge in the production system and in doing so make an important contribution to a key debate which has emerged in the social sciences in recent years.

Chapter 10: Co-producers of Innovation: On the Role of Knowledge-intensive Business Services in Innovation

Pim Den Hertog

Subjects: economics and finance, economics of innovation, services, innovation and technology, economics of innovation


10. Co-producers of innovation: on the role of knowledge-intensive business services in innovation Pim den Hertog 1. INTRODUCTION For a long time services were simply seen as part of a very undifferentiated residual sector, a wide group of ‘non-manufacturing industries’. The issues of whether, to what extent, and how service firms and service organizations innovate, and how this differs from manufacturing industries were not central research questions nor significant features of the (innovation) policy agenda. However, as the discussion on the knowledge-based society unfolds, the attention directed at services is increasing. Policymakers and researchers alike seem to have discovered that services do matter. With large majorities of the workforce in some developed economies employed in service industries or for that matter in service occupations, and with ICT-based innovation a prominent feature of many service organisations, it is evident that a better appreciation and understanding of the role of services in innovation is indeed needed. This chapter aims to contribute to this understanding. First some existing approaches in the services’ literature towards the question what it means to produce a service are briefly reviewed (section 2). Then a four-dimensional model is presented aimed at improving the understanding of the interaction of technological and non-technological factors in service innovation (section 3). Then, still at a rather general level, a distinction is made between five basic service innovation patterns (section 4). Subsequently, the focus will shift towards a sub-category of services, namely knowledgeintensive business services (KIBS). It is argued that these services can...

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