Rethinking service innovation: four pathways to evolution

Roberta Sebastiani, Marco Paiola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – Service-dominant (S-D) logic and service science provide a conceptual framework to describe evolutionary pathways that companies could follow by innovating in order to overcome and rethink traditional and non-productive ways of managing their businesses. The purpose of this paper is to explore service innovation. Design/methodology/approach – Through a critical review of literature about service innovation, highlighting a dynamic perspective and building on the latest contributions from S-D logic and service science, a research framework is designed. An in-depth analysis of empirical data from almost 100 companies is conducted. Findings – Four evolutionary paths based on innovation pursued by companies to face the growing complexity of their competitive environment are identified. The paths are dematerialization of the offering system, virtualisation of the value systems, replication of the organizational models and multiplication of market niches. Research limitations/implications – This is a starting point for better understanding, in a dynamic perspective, the role of innovation in supporting the redefinition of corporate business models and the conditions that enable their path development. Originality/value – Four cases that show the characteristics of each path are presented. The cases allow the specificity of each path to be emphasized, especially in terms of antecedents and the role of the service science key resources people, technology, organizations and shared information.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-94
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Quality and Service Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Customer service management
  • Innovation
  • Strategic management
  • Transition management


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