The Handbook of Innovation and Services
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The Handbook of Innovation and Services

A Multi-disciplinary Perspective

Edited by Faïz Gallouj and Faridah Djellal

This Handbook brings together 49 international specialists to address an issue of increasing importance for the world’s post-industrial economies; innovation as it relates to services.
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Chapter 13: Customer Integration in Service Innovation

Bo Edvardsson, Anders Gustafsson and Per Kristensson


Bo Edvardsson, Anders Gustafsson, Per Kristensson and Lars Witell 13.1 Introduction Services are one of the main bases for profitable businesses today. In a service-driven economy, companies try to increase their competitiveness through service innovations that create value for existing customers, attract new customers and at the same time produce shareholder value (e.g. Edvardsson et al., 2000; Gustafsson and Johnson, 2003). Service innovation can be divided into three categories: (1) type of innovation (service-level innovations); (2) the management of innovation (firm-level innovations); and (3) the innovation context (sector-level innovations). We will focus on the second category of managing firm-level service innovations, i.e. creating and managing innovative firm-level services by integrating customers in the innovation process. By the innovation process, we refer to the various phases from idea generation to market launch with at least some acceptance of the new service in the market. By service innovation, we refer to new services for an organization and further development of existing services as well as services ‘new to the world’. In other words, we do not distinguish between incremental innovations and radical innovations. The perspective we offer in this chapter is service innovation for, by and with customers. With customer integration in service innovation, we want to highlight the various roles that customers play in the service innovation process; a higher degree of customer integration means a change from service innovation for the customer to service innovation with the customer. By customer involvement, we mean being proactive and ‘getting close to customers’...

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