New Economic and Socio-Economic Approaches
Edited by Jean Gadrey and Faïz Gallouj
Chapter 10: Co-producers of Innovation: On the Role of Knowledge-intensive Business Services in Innovation
10. Co-producers of innovation: on the role of knowledge-intensive business services in innovation Pim den Hertog 1. INTRODUCTION For a long time services were simply seen as part of a very undifferentiated residual sector, a wide group of ‘non-manufacturing industries’. The issues of whether, to what extent, and how service firms and service organizations innovate, and how this differs from manufacturing industries were not central research questions nor significant features of the (innovation) policy agenda. However, as the discussion on the knowledge-based society unfolds, the attention directed at services is increasing. Policymakers and researchers alike seem to have discovered that services do matter. With large majorities of the workforce in some developed economies employed in service industries or for that matter in service occupations, and with ICT-based innovation a prominent feature of many service organisations, it is evident that a better appreciation and understanding of the role of services in innovation is indeed needed. This chapter aims to contribute to this understanding. First some existing approaches in the services’ literature towards the question what it means to produce a service are briefly reviewed (section 2). Then a four-dimensional model is presented aimed at improving the understanding of the interaction of technological and non-technological factors in service innovation (section 3). Then, still at a rather general level, a distinction is made between five basic service innovation patterns (section 4). Subsequently, the focus will shift towards a sub-category of services, namely knowledgeintensive business services (KIBS). It is argued that these services can...
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