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Service Week 2010

2010 Grand Challenge Summit Meeting, 22 September 2010

Over one hundred and fifty delegates, including industrialists from the defence, consultancy, finance, engineering and public-service sectors, policy-makers and academic researchers attended the Grand Challenge Summit meeting held in Cambridge on 22 September 2010 with the aim of reviewing global trends in research, policy and practice in services. Professor Duncan McFarlane of Cambridge University opened the Summit with an overview of the challenges facing today’s service providers. He spoke of the increasing societal pressures on organisations creating such issues as mounting cost reductions, space constraints, resource limitations and emission regulation, all of which are leading to new contract and delivery complexities for organisations.

Following Professor McFarlane’s prologue on the challenges facing service provision three plenary speakers presented on the global trend of servitization from varying perspectives. Professor Andy Neely, University of Cambridge, briefed the summit on his latest research into the servitization of manufacturing and innovation in business models. He tackled the questions of who is servitizing and in which countries?

Peter Fielder, Managing Director of Performance Excellence at BAE Systems, and Jon Granger, General Business Manager of Global Business Services for IBM’s north-eastern European region, spoke about international business developments in services and their organisations' experiences of the service transformation journey. In doing so both Peter and Jon spoke of the need to integrate offerings for more effective customer solutions, particularly given today’s access to, and volume of, data and information; but similarly both heeded the need for organisations to possess the skills, competencies, systems and processes to support these solutions effectively.

With the plenary discussion cases opened on the Summit floor, debate centred around the education of the customer in servitization, the need for knowledge and research in business model and management innovation, how organisations deal with the dichotomy of standardisation vs personalisation of service offerings, and the importance this change in business models places on delivering the brand promise over delivering the product specification.

As a final close to the Grand Challenge Summit Meeting the Vice Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, Professor Dame Alison Richard, joined the proceedings to officially launch the Cambridge Service Alliance.

Roundtable and Town Hall Meeting, 23 September 2010

The Grand Challenge Roundtable and Town Hall Meeting brought together 80 delegates from academia, consultancy and industry with the aim of ensuring that service research continues to grow and impact upon practice and future research. The session presented a valuable opportunity to discuss key aspects of service research and practice from a broad scientific perspective, going straight to the heart of the service research and practice community’s future.

Service research is moving towards an integrated trans-disciplinary agenda to better understand how people, processes, and assets interact within complex service systems for the co-creation of value with customers. Yet questions still need to be addressed regarding how we organise the current research environment for better trans-disciplinary research that is relevant and impactful to industry and society? And even as we are able to gain understanding of service through research, how should intangible research be transferred to practice. Through presentations, dialogue and debate of the key issues the Roundtable and Town Hall Meeting sought to develop an agenda to move towards answering these critical questions.

Professor Irene Ng opened the session with a speech on the integration, interconnectedness and influence of service research before hosting a presentation session featuring service scholars from all over the globe, who were invited to present key issues in knowledge production and transfer in service from their individual disciplinary perspectives. The Grand Challenge Roundtable was pleased to welcome the distinguished Professors Stephen Vargo, Robert Lusch, Ralph Badinelli, Scott Sampson, Ian Miles, Bo Edvardsson, and Dr Paul Maglio, who, through a series of presentations, introduced the Service Dominant Logic (SDL), service science, knowledge production and transfer in services, service operations, service innovation and value creation as key issues to be considered in the future of service research.

In order to move towards an agenda for knowledge production and transfer, AIM Research Fellows Dr Martin Spring, Dr Giuliana Battisti, Professor Irene Ng and Professor Kate Blackmon conducted a panel discussion on the earlier presentations that led into the afternoon discussion on the context, content and process of future service research. This led to a debate from the Fellows on the need for a universal lexicon to carry meaning across disciplines, for a joint agenda, incentives and appropriate education to support integration and collaboration across disciplines and between research and practice.

Forum of Markets and Marketing (FMM2010), 24-26 September 2010

A vital part of the Grand Challenge in Service Week was the Forum on Markets and Marketing, established by Robert F. Lusch and Stephen L. Vargo to: (1) explore foundational and theoretical issues related to marketing, including the understanding of markets and marketing systems and (2) further the development of service science as a unifying and transcending discipline. One of the key frameworks discussed in the 2010 Forum on Markets and Marketing was the emerging and rapidly growing Service-Dominant logic. In S-D logic, service is defined as the application of specialised competences (knowledge and skills), through deeds, processes, and performances for the benefit of another entity or the entity itself. It is 'service' that reflects the process of doing something beneficial for, and in conjunction with, some entity, rather than units of output-- immaterial goods -- as implied by the plural 'services'.

Therefore, in S-D logic, goods and services are not alternative forms of product. Goods are appliances (tools, distribution mechanisms) which serve as alternatives to direct service provision. Service, then, represents the general case, the common denominator, of the exchange process; service is what is always exchanged. Goods, when employed, are aids to the service-provision process. From an S-D logic view of service we can see a jet engine as an appliance to deliver thrust service, a laser machine in a microprocessor fabrication plant as an appliance to deliver laser pulse service, an item of clothing as providing body protection or body display service, and an item of food as providing nutritional service.

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Cambridge Service Alliance

Welcome to the Cambridge Service Alliance…

  • a unique global alliance between leading businesses and universities;
  • bringing together the world's leading firms and academics;
  • all of whom are devoted to delivering today the tools, education and insights needed for the complex service solutions of tomorrow.

Members of the Cambridge Service Alliance include BAE Systems, Caterpillar, IBM and the University of Cambridge.

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