Table of Contents

User-based Innovation in Services

User-based Innovation in Services

Edited by Jon Sundbo and Marja Toivonen

This book demonstrates pioneering work on user-based service innovation using an analytical framework. This approach involves understanding the needs of users, the service firms collaborating with them, and recognising the fact that users are innovators and, as such, services develop while in use. As well as presenting case studies, the book discusses theoretically what user-based innovation means in the context of services. Three main fields are analysed: user-based innovation in knowledge-intensive business service, user-based innovation in public services, and models and methods for structuring user-based innovation.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Jon Sundbo and Marja Toivonen

Subjects: business and management, organisational innovation, economics and finance, services, innovation and technology, organisational innovation


Jon Sundbo and Marja Toivonen This book is about user-based service innovation. It offers a broad view of innovation, highlighting the significance of small improvements which together result in a ‘jump’ in the otherwise smooth running of daily life. When these incremental innovations accumulate, they may function as a catalyst which leads to quite significant changes in service practice, be it in customer services, public services or industrial services. Our main argument in this book is that for a company or organization, a userbased approach is an important success factor in service innovation. This approach involves understanding the needs of users, collaborating with them, and taking into account the fact that services develop in use, that is, users themselves are innovators. 1 1.1 SERVICE INNOVATION THEORY An Extended ‘Synthesis View’ on Innovation in Services Since the mid-1990s, the topic of service innovation has aroused a broad interest both within academia and among policy-makers, and the variety of studies has increased considerably since then. We can identify two reasons for this development: a broadening of the understanding about the nature of innovations, and a deepening of the understanding about the specificities of services. Over several decades, interest in innovations had focused on radical technological inventions that emerge as the results of systematic research and development (R&D) in scientific or corporate laboratories. Questioning this view became possible due to the spread and generalization of empirical innovation studies. These revealed that incremental and less tangible improvements are significant for innovation and may...