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Edited by John R. Bryson and Peter W. Daniels
Chapter 15: Knowledge-Intensive Services and Innovation
Ian Miles Introduction This chapter examines the role of knowledge-intensive services in innovation processes. These services apply high levels of expert knowledge to their activities – this can be roughly assessed by the proportion of highly qualiﬁed staﬀ in their workforce. They can themselves be the focus of innovation – innovation in their own services, or in the production and other processes that support the design, generation and delivery of the services. But some of these services also play a role in innovation in other ﬁrms too, since some knowledgeintensive services (especially KIBS – knowledge-intensive business services) contribute to the choice and use of new technologies or organisational practices among their clients. So a knowledge-intensive ﬁnancial service ﬁrm may innovate itself in terms of, say, its back-oﬃce computer systems, its use of communication technologies to communicate with clients, the creation of new types of ﬁnancial service product and so on. A knowledgeintensive consultancy ﬁrm may also undertake such innovations for itself. But it can also provide clients – perhaps the ﬁnancial services ﬁrm – with advice on choice and implementation of new technologies, ways of restructuring its business (such as outsourcing its call centres and communications networks), training of staﬀ in the new systems and so on. This chapter examines both types of linkage to innovation processes. Its focus will tend to be on technological innovation, which has received rather more attention than organisational and other forms of innovation. It begins by considering what sorts of service ﬁrm can be described as being...
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