“Fuzzy Rear-End of Service Development”

In today’s post I review some thoughts from the service innovation section of the PDMA Annual Research Conference this past weekend.

As noted in Monday’s post, a highlight was an insight provided by Dr. Susan Hart: unlike standard models of new product development for goods the development process for services is no more clear than the front end, therefore perhaps we should speak of the “Fuzzy Rear-End of Service Development.”

There were three papers presented in the NSD session:

  1. Selecting Customers for Participation in NSD by Pilar Carbonell (York U.), Ana I. Rodrigues-Excudero (U. Valladolid) and Devashish Pugari (McMaster U.)
  2. An Analysis of the Anatomy of the Innovation Processes by Sena Ozdemir, Stephen Tagg and Susan Hart (U. Strathclyde)
  3. A Grounded Study of NSD by Gary R. Schirr (Radford U.) and Albert L. Page (University of Illinois at Chicago)

All three presentations stressed some common themes:

  1. Despite service accounting for 83% of the US economy and a majority of world GDP, innovation in service is understudied.
  2. Research in service innovation has focused on the degree to which NSD fits models derived for NPD – goods; more research on NSD as a unique process or comparing NSD and NPD would be useful.
  3. New Service Development is a messy, iterative process — hence the “fuzzy rear-end”

(More to come…)

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