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Capable to Change: Service Design and Dynamic Capabilities in Technology-Driven Firms
Authors: Ana Kustrak Korper (Linköping University, Sweden), Lia Patrício (University of Porto), Stefan Holmlid (Linköping University, Sweden), Lars Witell (Linköping University, Sweden)
Service innovation has become increasingly important to technology-driven firms that often relied on technology-push approaches to innovate. However, due to the complexity of service systems, they are now looking for new ways of resource integration and reconfiguration to achieve the competitive advantage (Akaka, Vargo, & Schau, 2015; Spohrer & Maglio, 2008). Thus, in service innovation domain service design became a valuable multidisciplinary approach addressing these complexities in a holistic, systemic and human-centered way (Patrício et al., 2011). Empirical studies in service design and innovation often focus on its role in the innovation process and contribute by establishing new service design models (Grenha Teixeira et al., 2017; Patrício et al., 2011). Although some studies address service design role in design capability building (Holmlid & Malmberg, 2018), little is known of its broader influence to organizational capabilities, especially in a technology-driven context where technology-push approaches to innovation are more common (Patrício, Gustafsson, & Fisk, 2018).
This study aims to investigate how technology-driven firms are integrating service design to build innovation capabilities that can support change. This study uses the dynamic capability framework as a theoretical lens to understand service design influence on change practices and capability building in the organization (Helfat & Peteraf, 2009; Teece, 2007). The framework can provide a comprehensive insight into microfoundations related to service design that have the ability to reconfigure the service systems of such firms and delineate the changes for the firm’s dynamic capability. This research is conducted using a multiple case study methodology. Case selection includes established international companies with strong technology component that have at least three-year experience working with service design. Through in-depth semi-structured interviews, observation and archival documentation, rich data was collected and analyzed to answer the research questions.
Preliminary findings point to different ways of integrating service design in organizational practices. These results indicate a relation to the organization’s strategic positioning of service design as a function and its potential to become tightly embedded in organizational culture and routines of both design and non-design units. This study aims to contribute to the literature by focusing on the change aspect of service design integration provided by the dynamic capabilities framework. It also contributes to broadening the framework towards service innovation facilitated by service design. Managerial implications aim to reveal opportunities and challenges of service design integration for more adaptive innovation practices.