FAQ: Service Science

Recently I was asked the following questions:

-How does IBM define service and SSME?

-Some consider SSME as applied research.  What are the basic research needs of SSME?

-Service sector counts for about 70% of U.S. GDP. Do you think we have sufficient R&D investment in this area either by Federal government or industry?

-Is there a particular need to develop next-generation workforce to be ready for a more service-oriented economy? If so, what are the particular skill-sets needed?

-Service science calls for highly cross-disciplinary and system-level research. What are the particular scientific challenges that require engineering research?

-What is IBM’s approach to integrate social behavior science into the service engineering research?

 

Here are my initial answers:

 

-How does IBM define service and SSME?

“Service” is defined in many ways by different people

Economist define “service” as the tertiary economic sector, which does not produce tangible output like agriculture and manufacturing

Computer scientists define “service” as a technological capability accessible via API (application programmer interfaces).

IBM business units define “service” as offerings from our Global Technology, Business, Process Service organizations that help customers solve a problem.

Service-dominant-logic and service scientists define “service” as the application of knowledge for mutual benefits (value co-creation phenomena)

IBM Research defines “SSME” as an emerging academic disciplines to make service innovation more systematic by understanding service systems rigorously

Most IBMers prefer the term “smarter systems” to “service systems” and “Smarter Planet curriculum” to “SSME”

Smarter Planet and smarter systems make it easier to communicate with customers.

Because smarter systems/service systems generate a lot of data, Big Data/Analytics/Data Science can be viewed as one aspect of Smarter Planet/SSME

Because smarter systems/service systems include cities, Urban Science can be viewed as one aspect of Smarter Planet/SSME

 

-Some consider SSME as applied research.  What are the basic research needs of SSME? 

SSME = Service Science Management and Engineering, service science for short

The applied research aspect of service science is the study of service systems (e.g., businesses & offerings, etc.) and service innovation methods

The theoretical research aspects of service science deal with the evolution of an ecology of service system entities and value co-creation phenomena

The basic research needs of service science go beyond performance measurements of individual service system entities or even types of entities.

The basic research needs of service science are rooted in mathematics of the evolution of species of service systems and value co-creation mechanisms.

The basic research questions dealing with accelerating learning curves of capabilities in a service ecology of nested, networked service system entities.

Types of service systems entities include individual people, families, businesses, universities, cities, states, nations, etc.

 

-Service sector counts for about 70% of U.S. GDP. Do you think we have sufficient R&D investment in this area either by Federal government or industry?

Economists measure 70%, but manufacturing and agricultural firms care about service innovation as well.

I think there is insufficient R&D investment in service research.

Here is what our current CEO thought was significant when we kicked off SSME efforts at IBM:
http://www.ibm.com/ibm/governmentalprograms/pdf/Issue_Paper_Services_Science_v.1.0.pdf

 

-Is there a particular need to develop next-generation workforce to be ready for a more service-oriented economy? If so, what are the particular skill-sets needed?

This is the focus of ISSIP.org – the International Society of Service Innovation Professionals

ISSIP (pronounced I-ZIP) promotes T-shaped service innovators, with depth and breadth, across disciplines, sectors, and regions/cultures.

We will have a T Summit at IBM Almaden Research Center on March 24-25, 2014 to explore this in more depth.

The skill sets include both traditional areas of depth, as well as breadth – boundary spanning, adaptive capacity, interactional experience, etc.

The skill sets associated with breadth come from working on many team projects solve real world challenges.

 

-Service science calls for highly cross-disciplinary and system-level research. What are the particular scientific challenges that require engineering research? 

All the of Smarter Planet and NAE Grand Challenge Engineering Challenges are relevant
http://www.smarterplanetchallenge.com
http://www.ieee.org/education_careers/education/university_programs/curriculum_resources/smarterplanetchallenge.html

However, the long-term challenges are for sustainability, resilience, competitive parity, innovativeness of nested, networked service system entities.

These issues are partially addressed in this paper.
http://servsci.journal.informs.org/content/4/2/147.abstract

 

-What is IBM’s approach to integrate social behavior science into the service engineering research? 

Historically, we have hired T-shaped social scientists, engineers, business students and worked to make them even more T-shaped!

More T-shaped means both increasing their depth and breadth.

Again, this is the professional development goal of ISSIP.org

Many “data scientists” and “urban scientists” will come from social science, engineering, management, arts & humanities backgrounds

 

-Jim

Dr. James C. Spohrer
Director, IBM University Programs World-Wide (IBM UP)
Innovation Champion (http://www.service-science.info/archives/2233)
IBM Almaden Research Center, San Jose, CA 95120 USA
spohrer@us.ibm.com
408-927-1928 (o)
408-829-3112 (c)

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