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 13: User-based Service Innovation Including a Futures Perspective: A Case Study with Four Methods

Mari Holopainen and Pia Helminen

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


Mari Holopainen and Pia Helminen 1 INTRODUCTION This chapter explores methods of involving users in the service innovation process. We describe four methods that we tested together with a case company, a medium-sized Finnish insurance and finance company. Our emphasis is on participatory, future-oriented methods. The company had realized that there was much to be done in its user-orientation and it put a lot of effort into the development of a systematic, genuinely user-based innovation model, which is sufficiently tailor-made to be suitable in its business context. Today most companies agree that a key element in designing successful services is to understand the needs of users, and many companies spend significant amounts of resources trying to acquire information about these needs. Users are specialists when considering the ways in which a service works best in practice. They possess information on what they want to do with the service – how, where and when they want to use it. On the other hand, provider companies know a lot about the organization of resources that are critical for the functioning of the service. There are multiple methods for exploring the user needs, varying from quantitative market research methodology to ethnography. However, the visualization of services has been considered problematic due to their intangible nature. Design, visualization and simulation of services require new perspectives as well as appropriate tools and techniques (Zeithaml et al., 2006; Burger et al., 2009; Holopainen, 2010). In this study, one of our aims has been to overcome these challenges...

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