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Lars Fuglsang

This chapter presents the critical incident technique (CIT) and argues that CIT, when combined with other more ‘reflexive’ approaches, can provide an analysis of everyday experiences of services and make these experiences useful for innovation. The chapter seeks to place the critical incident technique in three different research traditions, with examples from services and innovation: positivist–functional, phenomenological–interpretivist and process-oriented reflexive. The value of the critical incident technique as a special interview and research technique for service innovation research is discussed.

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Jørn Kjølseth Møller and Flemming Sørensen

This chapter discusses the potential of interpretivist approaches for social network analysis (SNA) to analyse service innovation processes. The benefits of interpretivist SNA approaches are discussed and it is argued that in service innovation studies they contribute an important complementary approach to more typical positivist, mathematical and computational approaches. The chapter illustrates how interpretivist-oriented SNA can identify, emphasize and explain the dynamic development of innovation networks and how this development is related to service innovation. It can identify and highlight the complex combinations of factors, including a variety of contextual factors that are important for the character and development of social networks as well as related service innovation processes.

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Niels Nolsøe Grünbaum

The laddering method is a qualitative interview technique applied in a situation with one interviewer and one informant with the aim of creating an understanding of the value that business-to-consumer (B2C) customers extract from product attributes. Thus, this methodology aims to depict a mental map of what is actually going on in the consumer’s mind when the consumer is buying and consuming specific goods. It is argued, in this chapter, that this understanding is indeed both interesting and relevant in service innovation. More specifically, realizations of consumers’ values will help to guide marketers to understand what to innovate, how to innovate, how to plan and efficiently communicate changes, how to sell the innovations in the market place and how to implement organizational changes that innovations might cause. Furthermore, the laddering methodology has been applied across many fields with good success and the premises for using the method and for analyzing obtained data, is rather well described. The latter (i.e. premises and data analysis) is often raised as central and critical points of qualitative research methodology when arguing for problems with validity and reliability of findings.

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Anne Rørbæk Olesen

This chapter argues for the usefulness of visual mapping techniques for performing qualitative analysis of complex service innovation processes. Different mapping formats are presented, namely, matrices, networks, process maps, situational analysis maps and temporal situational analysis maps. For the purpose of researching service innovation processes, the three latter formats are argued to be particularly interesting. Process maps can give an overview of different periods and milestones in a process in one carefully organized location. Situational analysis maps and temporal situational analysis maps can open up complexities of service innovation processes, as well as close them down for presentational purposes. The mapping formats presented are illustrated by displaying maps from a research project example, and the chapter is concluded with a brief discussion of the limitations and pitfalls of using visual mapping techniques.

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Anne Vorre Hansen

The aim of the chapter is to discuss the possible use of narrative methodology in service innovation research by giving an empirical example of a service innovation process deeply rooted in narrative methodology. To take a narrative approach is to acknowledge stories as being conditional for human organizing and socializing. Therefore, narrative analysis is seen as a way to explore experiences and to play with future scenarios. As such, narratives have been used both to gain insight about customers and to create new stories of service relationships. The chapter presents the design, process and outcome of an innovation workshop, held in a non-profit housing association in Denmark. The case reveals how creating stories seems intuitive to the participants and how employees and residents, by co-creation of new “service” stories, found a neutral place for development, which is why the process in itself became an outcome. The intention is to present the framework of narrative methodology as a profitable mindset in service innovation processes rather than to present a fixed method. Hopefully, the chapter will be an inspiration for both doing and studying service innovation prospectively.

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Jon Sundbo

This chapter treats quantitative instruments to measure input to and output from innovation processes at the micro or firm level of service innovation processes. The aim is to develop a tool that can be used by service firms. It is not sufficient to develop a theoretical instrument; service firms should also use the measure if we are to get a valid measure and service firms are to get a useable decision tool. The chapter presents research that theoretically develops an appropriate measurement instrument and tests whether service firms would be likely to use it. The test is carried out in two steps: a long-term discussion in a group of service innovation managers, followed by exploratory experiments in two service firms. The conclusion presents a suggestion for a measurement model.

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Edited by Flemming Sørensen and Francesco Lapenta

Research Methods in Service Innovation provides an essential methodological toolbox for researchers, students and practitioners interested in better understanding innovation and improving innovation processes in service organisations. Each chapter presents a specific method, introduces its theoretical foundations, explains its practical application, and provides examples and suggestions for its implementation.
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Ada Scupola

This chapter focuses on social media in service innovation research. Specifically, the chapter presents the use of blogs as a particular type of social media as a means for collecting ideas in open innovation processes for service innovation in engaged research (Van de Ven, 2007). The specific service sector in which the method is applied is the research library sector. The results of the study show that, from a practical point of view, blogs can contribute to generating service innovation ideas from the users, that are useful to organizations. From a research point of view the study confirms that social media such as blogs can indeed be useful in service innovation research processes. However the method presents also a number of limitations, mostly regarding expectations as to the number of posted ideas, the layout of the blogs and reaching out to potential users.

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Flemming Sørensen

In this chapter the potential of service innovation field experiments is emphasised. The chapter argues that field experiments can sustain the development of new service innovation processes that can increase service organisations’ innovativeness. Thus they comply with society’s call for collaboration between academia and businesses and for the development of practically relevant knowledge. Furthermore service innovation field experiments are argued to provide researchers with new knowledge about service innovation processes that could not be gained using other methods because they can test prototypes of service innovation procedures. The chapter illustrates the potential of field experiments in service innovation research by the example of a simple experiment in a hotel where the joint development of new practices led to service innovations.

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Claire Esther Staddon Forder

Triple helix frameworks, a concept evolving from the knowledge economy, are innovation frameworks caused by the positive overlap of policy–industry–academia which become locked into a new structure offering innovation potential. These structures are typically known as triple helix projects. This chapter examines the development of a triple helix project, and looks at which service innovation and research potentials and barriers are embedded in triple helix projects due to inherently diverse helical worldviews. The chapter reveals which helical worldview characteristics foster service innovation and research, and which worldviews can hinder service innovation and research due to unbridgeable worldview differences. Finally, a discussion of the implications these worldview differences have for service innovation and research is undertaken, and suggestions about how to bridge seemingly unbridgeable worldview gaps are offered.