Elevator Pitch: What is Service?

I do not have a snappy comeback on the request for an “elevator pitch to convey the service perspective to, say, traditional marketing, operations, engineering, design, etc. professionals.”


So far, this is the best I’ve got….


Some think service innovation is just for the service sector businesses, but it turns out public sector needs service innovation as well as manufacturing and agriculture – especially in developing nations.  For example, mobile and smart phones have manufacturing component, but depend on service innovation ecosystems.   Many times a service innovation is a business model innovation or organizational innovation – for example – see circular economy video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCRKvDyyHmI

Service innovation is about re-thinking progress, the operating system for our future – from all perspectives, holistically, including technologies, business models, regulations and incentives, as well as human knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed for sustainable, resilient, equitable, innovative quality-of-life.


Prof. Ralph Badinelli (Virginia Tech) produced this:



I try to emphasize the following – but it may be too abstract for most people:


(1) What is special about service – value co-creation

Service is the application of knowledge for mutual benefits (value co-creation, win-wins).


(2) What is special about service innovations – scaling

Service innovations scale the benefit of new knowledge, globally and rapidly (smartphones are a tech example, franchises are a biz/org example).


(3) What is special about service science – transdiscipline

Service science is an emerging trans-discipline (borrows from many disciplines, without replacing any) that studies service systems and value co-creation phenomena.


(4) What make service innovation professionals different – T-shaped

Service innovation professionals aspire to add breadth to depth, and go beyond I-shaped to more T-shaped professionals, who work well in multi-disciplinary, multi-sector, and multi-cultural teams.


(5) What is ISSIP – umbrella professional association

ISSIP (pronounced I-ZIP) is an umbrella professional association, the interconnects over two dozen other professional association with service science related special interest group, and ISSIP promotes service innovation for our interconnected world, including professional development, research, education, practice, and policymaking.


(6) What is SSME+DAPP – transdiscipline

Service science is short for Service Science, Management, Engineering, Design, Arts, and Public Policy – again service science is an emerging trans-discipline, that borrows from many, without replacing any.


Understanding Vargo & Lusch Service-Dominant Logic is a good starting point for the serious student of service.

Computer science took over 30 years to develop, and I suspect service science will require just as long, since PhD students are not produced any faster these days – perhaps more slowly, as the knowledge burden grows.


The breakthrough many of us are waiting for in the service science community is a World Simulator, or CAD tool for global modeling of nested, networked service systems including nations, states, cities, universities, businesses, families, individuals.  Being able to experiment with policies that balance improve weakest link (see “Reaching the Goal” by Ricketts) and improve strongest link (see “Coming Prosperity” by Auerswald) will be key.

Watch “Re-thinking Progress” to dip your toe in the water of service-dominant logic and service science:


Service is value co-creation logic front-and-center as the new operating system for our planet, and our species.  Real service co-elevates the capabilities of the nested, networked entities engaged in value co-creation.


OK, a long way from an elevator pitch, too long and abstract, but dipping a toe in the water is a start, and joining ISSIP (free and complementary) is another good start.

To be a great ISSIP new member is easy, here’s how


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