Evolving better service science programs, and overcoming failure patterns

With over 500 service science related programs worldwide, there is a lot of evolving of best practices going on year over year, and there are some common failure patterns that have emerged as well…

(1) Students: Students may not recognize the program, and so enrollments are too low.  Service systems design and entrepreneurship in the title of the programs or descriptions seems to help.

(2) Faculty: Faculty may not have the necessary breadth and depth to teach all the material, and so expertise may be too low.  Teams of faculty and industry instructors is one approach to this problem.

(3) Department: Departments may view many of the courses as outside their scope, and so the course may be too narrow to create true T-shaped graduates.  Locating the program in a research center with a focus on health, retail, or some other industry sector can help.

(4) Institution:  Institutions may have funding reductions, and look to “roll-back” any recent courses that are less proven, and so funding support may be too low.  Locating the program in a well funded research center or exec education program can help.

(5) Accreditation: Getting engineering, management, social sciences, etc. accreditation of a new integrated transciplinary program can be very tough.   Linking with related programs and across other schools can help.

(6) Employers:  Employers may not recognize the degree or courses, and not hire the graduates, and so successful placements may be too low.  One approach is to offer the service science related program as a minor, so the employers can recognize a traditional major (T-shaped graduate).

So there are six ways to fail, and only one way to succeed fully – and that is to succeed on all six points above.  However, many programs do succeed on making progress on all six dimensions, and continue to improve a bit year over year.  Once there is a CAD tool for modeling global nested, networked service systems – that tool will make the textbook, and other aspects of the above easier to overcome.

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