NSF-funded Workshop to Develop a Research Agenda for Service Innovation

Update: Workshop Final Report

The California Center for Service Science at the University of California, led by Professor Paul Maglio at UC Merced, will partner with Dr. Stephen Kwan of San José State University and Dr. Jim Spohrer of IBM to co-organize an NSF-funded Workshop to Develop a Research Agenda for Service Innovation, which will be held at the Keck Center of the National Academies in Washington DC in April, 2014.

The workshop will bring together thought leaders from a variety of disciplines to outline an agenda for scientific and engineering research in service innovation. Solving service problems has enormous practical consequences for the economy and society because (a) more than 80% of jobs in the US are in the service sector, with most Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) graduates working in service; (b) many complex service problems resist traditional optimization solutions; and (c) private investment in service research is low because of low margins in non-technology-intensive service businesses, and the US lags in public investment behind countries such as Japan, China, Finland, and Germany.

Simply put, the search for service innovation requires new theories and new methods to address problems unique to services, and what little students are being taught about the service sector has not kept up with the rapid growth of STEM jobs in service or with modern entrepreneurial opportunities. Effective understanding of complex services and innovation in services requires a new approach that combines multiple methods, for example, drawing from industrial engineering and operations research, social and behavioral sciences, information systems, and computer science and computational modeling.


Sponsors: National Science Foundation, California Center for Service Science, San Jose State University, IBM, University-Industry Demonstration Partnership, National Academies


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