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Patterns of innovation in service industries

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1 Author(s)
Miles, I. ; Manchester Institute of Innovation Research, Manchester Business School, Harold Hankins Building, Booth Street West, M13 9QH, U.K.

The diversity of service activities means that service innovations and innovation processes take various forms. In this paper, we use input/output and other data to depict how service industries vary in such areas as products, markets, work organization, and technological characteristics—most being very distinctive from primary industries (i.e., extractive industries such as agriculture, fisheries, forestry, mining, petroleum, quarrying, and the like) and secondary industries (i.e., manufacturing, construction, and utilities). Innovation survey data indicates that some service organizations behave very much like high-technology manufacturing. This is especially true of technology-based, knowledge-intensive business services (T-KIBS). Distinctive innovation patterns are displayed by KIBS based more on professional knowledge and by large network-based service firms, while many smaller service firms conform to a supplier-driven pattern. Only a small segment of service innovation conforms to the typical manufacturing-based model, in which innovation is largely organized and led by formal research and development (R&D) departments and production engineering. Project management and on-the-job innovation are common ways of organizing service innovation. Innovation policy and management have to be much more than R&D policy and R&D management: This is recognized by some national governments and in some business schools, but the full implications of a service-dominant logic are still rarely found.

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Published in:

IBM Systems Journal  (Volume:47 ,  Issue: 1 )