A clear trend in the global economy is the replacements of products with services (Li and Ren, 2010). Smart services enable utilization optimization of goods; for example home delivery service of groceries or the renting of costly equipment. Services make up around 70% of the GDP in modern economies. The trend towards services is also apparent in the IT industry where IT departments and functions including servers, software and infrastructure are replaced by innovative sourcing arrangements where IT is bought as a service. Popular terms in this domain are software-, infrastructure- and software as a service, also closely related to Cloud computing or “The Cloud”. The service concept has also heavily influenced the inner workings and structures of software through Service Oriented Architectures (SOA).

Accompanying the service trend is the emerging academic field called Service science, management and engineering or simply Service science. Service science is an attempt for an interdisciplinary approach on the complexity surrounding the transition towards a service-based society. As a suggested theoretical foundation for service science is Service dominant (SD) logic (Maglio and Sphorer, 2008) as oppose to a long history of goods dominant (GD) logic. The GD logic can be exemplified through concepts such as value-add, profit maximization and transaction (Vargo et al, 2010). According to Vargo (2010) the long history of GD centered logic and vocabulary leads to an over emphasis on units of output and consumers/producers that hinders the understanding of the conceptual shift from GD- to SD logic.

Service science brings together social sciences with engineering and management aiming to develop an understanding of the underlying complex of service systems (Sphorer et al, 2007). 

” Service science combines organization and human understanding with business and technological understanding to categorize and explain the many types of service systems that exist as well as how service systems interact and evolve to cocreate value.”

Maglio and Sphorer (2008).

Sphorer and Maglio (2008) describe a service system as the arena where different stakeholders together co-create value; whilst playing a role in the service production, delivery and consumption. The main motivation behind the service science discourse is expressed by its founders as important due to the necessity to support new service innovations.

“..we and others have been cultivating service science, aiming to create the basis for systematic service innovation” .

(Chesbrough 2005; Monahan et al. 2006; Spohrer and Maglio,  2007).

Building on the thoughts from Sphorer and Maglio (2008) and at the same time taking into account the “system metaphor” (service system), we define a service innovation as: An indispensable component of a service system that is involved in significant value creation. By indispensable, we argue that the service system will create significantly less value if the service innovation is removed. By component, we argue that the service innovation is a part of a system comprising of several components. This is further supported by Guderans (2010) arguments for the Service engineering perspective.


Chesbrough, H. (2005). Towards a science of services. Harvard Business Review, 83, 16–17

DOI 10.1007/s12927-010-0004-0 

Maglio, P., Sphorer, J. Fundamentals of Service Science. (2008) . JOURNAL OF THE ACADEMY OF MARKETING SCIENCE  Volume 36, Number 1, 18-20, DOI: 10.1007/s11747-007-0058-9

Makino, Y., Furuta, K., Kanno, T., Yoshihara, S., and Mase T. (2009). Interactive Method for Service Design Using Computer Simulation Service Science 1(2), pp. 121-134.

Monahan, B., David, P., Taylor, R., Tofts, C., & Yearworth, M. (2006). Grand challenges for systems and services sciences. Paper prepared for FET/FP7 Workshop, Brussels (January 31, 2006).

Peffers, K., Tuunanen, T., Routenberger, M., Chatterjee, S. (2007). A Design Science Research Methodology for Information Systems Research Journal of Management Information Systems, Volume 24 Issue 3, Winter 2007-8, pp. 45-78 Service Science 2(1/2), pp. 112 - 125, © 2010 SSG  Service Science 2(1/2), pp. 76 - 91

Spohrer, J., & Maglio, P. P. (2007). The emergence of service science: Toward systematic service innovations to accelerate co-creation of value. Production and Operations Management (in press)

 Spohrer, J., Maglio, P. P., Bailey, J., & Gruhl, D. (2007). Steps toward a science of service systems. Computer, 40, 71–77

Vargo, S. L., Lusch, R. F. Akaka, M. A.  and He, Y. (2010). The Service-Dominant Logic of