Table of Contents

The Handbook of Service Industries

The Handbook of Service Industries

Elgar original reference

Edited by John R. Bryson and Peter W. Daniels

Service activities are now acknowledged as key players in economic development, societal change and public policy worldwide. This exciting Handbook not only contributes to ongoing conceptual debates about the nature of service-led economies and societies; it also pushes back the frontiers of current critical thinking about the role of service activities in urban and regional development and the important research agendas that remain to be addressed.

Chapter 15: Knowledge-Intensive Services and Innovation

Ian Miles

Subjects: economics and finance, industrial economics, services


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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