The New Wealth of Nations
Chapter 1: Innovation in Services: A Brief Survey
INTRODUCTION No serious theoretical investigation of innovation in services can dispense with a survey, however brief and scholarly, of the ‘state of the art’. Although such an exercise is undeniably useful (innovation in services being indeed a new ‘art’, if not in the workplace at least as far as researchers and governments are concerned), we will confine ourselves here to the bare minimum and refer thereader to other, more extensive surveys (see in particular Gallouj, 1994a; C. Gallouj and F. Gallouj, 1996; Sundbo, 1998; Boden and Miles, 2000; Flipo, 2000; Dumont, 2001; Warrant, 2001). A not insignificant share of the literature on innovation in services can be accounted for by identifying three basic approaches to research: 1. a technologist approach that equates or reduces innovation in services to the introduction of technical systems (material transport and processing systems and, above all, information and communication systems) into service firms and organizations; 2. a service-oriented approach that seeks to identify any possible particularities in the nature and organization of innovation in services; 3 . an integrative approach which, taking as its starting point the trend towards convergence and the blurring of the boundaries between goods and services, favors a similar analytical approach to innovation in both cases. These three approaches fit neatly into what might be described as a natural life cycle of theoretical concerns.’ The technologist approach is in a phase of relative decline (the pioneers of research into innovation in services naturally adopted a technologist ‘gaze’ that had its roots in...
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