FAQ: ISSIP and Universities

I was recently asked the following questions:

– What is ISSIP?

– What is a service platform?

– What is service science?

– What is a T-shaped professional?

– How is this related to your work at IBM with universities?

– What are the important future trends you see?


Here are my initial answers:

– What is ISSIP?

ISSIP = the International Society of Service Innovation Professionals

ISSIP is pronounced I-ZIP

ISSIP was founded by industry and academic collaborators to promote service innovations for an interconnected world.

Ammar Rayes, a Cisco DE, is the founding President of ISSIP.

Charlie Bess, an HP Fellow, is the founding Vice President of ISSIP.

Jeff Welser, Director IBM Almaden Service Research, is the VP elect for ISSIP.

I am one of the founding Board members, as well as chair of the ISSIP SIG Education and Research.

ISSIP SIG Education and Research aims to increase the quantity and quality of service science related courses and degree programs.

ISSIP SIG Education and Research aims to increase the number of T-shaped service innovators in business and society.

– What is a service platform?

A service platform has the reach to places and entities to scale the benefits of new knowledge globally and rapidly.

IBM’s Watson natural language and question answering capability will become available for smart phone app developers as a service platform.

Watson specializes in ranking queries that related semantic classes and instances, so for  the classes “Explorers” and “Dates”  – the instance “Columbus” is highly correlated with “1492” and less so with “1506” and “1451”.

IBM Smarter Cities Intelligent Operations Center is a service platform for scaling business solutions that improve the performance of urban regions.

IBM itself can be viewed as a service platform for scaling businesses and solutions with some 120 acquisitions in the last ten years alone.

Pharmaceutical companies be viewed as service platforms for scaling the benefits of new molecules.

Franchises are service platforms for scaling the benefits of new knowledge globally and rapidly.

Cities with high use airports can become negative-service platforms when they scale human viruses negative consequences globally and rapidly.


– What is service science?

ISSIP embraces the service-dominant-logic definition of service.

Service is defined, not as the tertiary economic sector, but more generally as the application of knowledge for mutual benefits.

Service innovations scale the benefits of new knowledge, globally and rapidly (and for businesses profitably).

Service innovations includes technology platforms (e.g., smart phones), organizational platforms (e.g., franchises) and others platforms for scaling.

Service science is the rigorous study of service systems and value co-creation phenomena, both collaborative and competitive mechanisms.

Value co-creation is a kind of win-win outcome – for example, when customers build their own furniture they can get higher quality components, but lower costs.

Performance measures of service systems include quality, productivity, compliance, and innovativeness.

Types of service systems entities include people, businesses, universities, cities, states, and nations.

Performance measures of a service ecology include resilience, sustainability, competitive parity, and quality-of-life (learning rates & knowledge burden).


– What is a T-shaped professional?

T-shaped professionals have both depth and breadth.

An I-shaped professional may be an expert, but lacks skills for interacting with other disciplines, sectors, and/or regions/cultures.

Pi-shapes and M-shapes have depth in two or three areas, but most employees today are I-shapes.

An organization or nation with more T-shapes is more likely to have higher performance teamwork as well as more boundary spanning innovations.

The T-shaped metaphor has been used for at least a couple decades, but ISSIP is working on making the concept more rigorous.


– How is this related to your work at IBM with universities?

At IBM I helped start IBM’s Venture Capital Group, Service Research area in IBM Research, and now run IBM’s University Programs worldwide.

IBM University Programs is concerned with the 6 R’s – research, readiness (skills), recruiting, revenue (universities are like small cities), responsibility, and regions.

Part of IBM Smarter Planet strategy is to help universities increase the quantity and quality of start-ups (Smart Camps).

IBM also wants to help start-ups scale up globally and rapidly.

Universities are the most important drivers of innovation in a knowledge economy, and more and more startups come from universities.

Many businesses instead of hiring a student with a new degree, would rather hire that same student after they have entrepreneurial experience, even if the start-up failed.

Most start-ups fail, but they create T-shaped people – which is what businesses want to improve performance of teams and boundary spanning innovations.

IBM acquires about one company a month for last ten years (see the IBM M&A wikipedia page)

By one estimate, 2/3 of these acquisitions started in a university-based entrepreneurial ecosystem.

SSME (Service Science Management and Engineering), Smarter Planet, Big Data Analytics, Data Science, Smarter Cities, and Urban Science – are all related.

IBM University Programs uses the 6 R’s to advance IBM’s Smarter Planet strategy, and increase the number of T-shaped innovators.


– What are the important future trends you see?

We have identified a number of important technological trends:  self-driving cares, cities that recycle their water, manufacturing as a local recycling service using robots and 3D printers, artificial leaf to solve energy shortages long term, Watson and Cognitive computing for smarter machines and systems, rapid building construction and recycling, social business for retail and hospitality, crowd-funding and gamification in finance, robotic surgery and 3D printed organs in medicine, challenge-based entrepreneurial learning, smart governance that balances improve strongest-line and improve weakest link policies.


Some of the answers are also embedded in the following presentations:



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