How to do User Innovation in services

This article summarizes some interesting findings on service innovation deriving from a major Danish service innovation project.
  • Firstly, service companies can benefit from a strategic user innovation approach in which innovation is anchored in the top management level and recognized as a key business process.
  • Secondly, while innovation is a new management discipline for many service companies, the process and user involvement can be organized in a fairly systematic way.
  • Thirdly, the non-physical nature of services means that broad stakeholder involvement early in the process is critical for success.

Based on case evidence, the article presents a service innovation model consisting of three layers:

1) a systematic innovation process;

2) a set of methodologies appropriate for service innovation;

3) a decision-making process to ensure stakeholder participation and management decision-making.

Finally, managerial implications are presented as a series of recommendations to managers.

About the authors


Tomas Vedsmand, PH.D., Partner, Gemba Innovation  has more than 15 years’ experience in innovation management, strategy and business analysis. Tomas has worked in consultancy, facilitation and project management in numerous development and innovation projects on food, manufacturing and services for start-ups, in corporate and public organizations. Currently, Tomas’s work is focused on user innovation, service innovation and creation of efficient innovation management.

Søren Kielgast, Partner, Gemba Innovation has more than 20 years’ experience in innovation, business development and management from a number of international technology companies and from hands-on efforts related to the establishment of Teknologisk Innovation, a government funded seed-incubator, which has nurtured more than 100 startups in six years. Søren has experience in developing IT based innovation management systems and is a certified instructor in the team learning and meeting system Zing. Søren has implemented Zing in a number of companies and organizations in Scandinavia and Germany.

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