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Front-end service innovation: learning from a design-assisted experimentation

Birgit Helene Jevnaker (Department of Innovation and Economic Organization, BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo, Norway)
Brynjulf Tellefsen (Department of Communication, Culture and Languages, BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo, Norway)
Marika Lüders (SINTEF ICT, Networked Systems and Services, Oslo, Norway)

European Journal of Innovation Management

ISSN: 1460-1060

Article publication date: 12 January 2015




The purpose of this paper is to examine how the development and experimentation with a designer-assisted and collaborative concept-creating approach can provide new insights into the emergent field of service innovations.


The paper were independent researcher with no commercial interests in the method investigated. The paper adopted qualitative methodology informed by 12 innovation workshop series among three Norwegian service companies, followed up by formative validation of the three years constructional and experimental period.


The workshops introduced tangible tools and produced large numbers of innovation ideas, some of which were exploited. Participants internalized partially service design-terms and tools. The experimentation contributed to a common language among participants. Weaknesses included not explicitly addressing managerial learning and organization-internal issues.

Research limitations/implications

New innovation interventions in the often fuzzy front-end should be validated to accumulate insights and allow changes.

Practical implications

The paper offer a managerial framework for improving innovation experimentation among corporate employees and specialists. This will help companies understand service design impact on innovation by delineating key managerial components and limitations from broad business perspective.

Social implications

Relationships influenced the construction and conduct of the innovation experiments, and consequently who were influenced by the experiment in the companies. To evaluate whom to include in the workshops and whom to represent by proxy innovation networks should be analyzed.


This study reports one of very few appraisals of design-assisted service innovation interventions through process observations and follow-up field interviews, including interviews after the finalizing of field experiments. The paper offer frameworks and critical issues for fuzzy-end innovation practice and research.



In this paper the authors examine a collaborative service design-assisted innovation experimentation as developed in real world enterprise settings in the period 2007-2010. The project was led by the Oslo School of Architecture and Design, with BI Norwegian School of Business, and SINTEF as research partners, and with the games company Norsk Tipping and the insurance company Gjensidige as participating service companies footing 30 per cent of the costs. The library digital search company DigLib additionally participated in 2008. The main funding body was the Research Council of Norway, who supported it for furthering basic research in this emergent knowledge area.


Jevnaker, B.H., Tellefsen, B. and Lüders, M. (2015), "Front-end service innovation: learning from a design-assisted experimentation", European Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. 18 No. 1, pp. 19-43.



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