Investigating issues and challenges for customer involvement in Business services innovation

Hanne Westh Nicolajsen, Ada Scupola

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    Purpose - The paper investigates how customers may contribute to radical innovation in consultancy services and what are the conditions needed for customers to involve in such radical service innovations.
    Design/methodology/approach - The paper uses a qualitative case study approach including rich descriptions based primarily on interviews to investigate an extreme example of successful customer involvement in the development of radical service innovations in Ramboll, a leading Scandinavian engineering consultancy.
    Findings – Our study reveals that customers may be involved in radical innovation processes to different degrees. However involving customers actively in radical services innovation require a relationship between the customer company and the service provider that might be described as a partnership in which ongoing learning is taking place to develop new solutions. Our findings reveal that unsolved problems as well as personal trust are keys in order to make customers involve in radical service innovations. Customers involved actively are further characterized by possessing high expertise and extraordinary personal engagement.
    Research limitations/implications – As in all case studies, the main limitation of our study is the generalizability of the findings. More cases would help to shed light on the generalizability of the findings across other radical innovation projects within the same company or in similar type of companies.
    Originality/value – The study contributes with new and detailed insights into both how to involve customers in radical service innovations and the conditions and challenges found in doing so.
    Paper type: Research Paper
    TidsskriftJournal of Business and Industrial Marketing
    Udgave nummer5
    Sider (fra-til)368-376
    StatusUdgivet - 2011


    • engineering consulting, service innovation, radical innovation, customer involvement, case study

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