What is Service?

The US economy – and economies of all industrialized nations – are made primarily of service jobs (more than 80% of jobs in the US are service jobs). Traditionally, service is viewed as the sector of the economy that does not include agriculture or manufacturing activities. More generally, we consider service to be the application of resources (including competences, skills, and knowledge) to make changes that have value for others. For instance, in information technology (IT) outsourcing services, a service provider operates computing infrastructure for a service client. The provider augments the client’s capabilities, taking on responsibility for monthly service-level agreements and year-over-year productivity improvements. Knowledge workers depend on their knowledge, tools, and social-organizational networks to solve problems, be productive, continually develop, and generate and capture value.

What is Service Science?

Service science is the study of service, but there really is no such thing as service science today – there is no single accepted, integrated, interdisciplinary scientific study of the service economy or of service jobs. Service science is more like a movement whose goal is to focus attention on service-related problems. Service science is emerging. Its basic unit of analysis is the service system, made of configurations of people, technologies, and other resources that interact with other configurations to create mutual value.

Why establish the California Center for Service Science?

California’s service sector currently accounts for 80 percent of the jobs and GDP in the state. Of the 263,700 new jobs added during 2012, the vast majority were service related. Education, health, and financial services added the highest number of new jobs, while professional and business services added the highest percentage of new jobs (73,400 jobs, up 3.3 percent) to California’s economy. Yet despite its obvious importance, the service sector remains understudied and the service workforce is undereducated in the state. Though several University of California campuses offer service related courses, there is currently no organized center for education and research on service at UC or in California more broadly. The mission of the new California Center for Service Science is to advance the frontier of service research and education, and to emerge as an engine of skill, innovation, and job growth for the state and the nation.