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Modes of service innovation: a typology

Qiang Wang (China Europe International Business School, Shanghai, China)
Chris Voss (Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK)
Xiande Zhao (Department of Economics and Decision Sciences, China Europe International Business School, Shanghai, China AND School of Business Administration, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou, China)
Zhiqiang Wang (Institute of Supply Chain Integration and Service Innovation, School of Business Administration, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou, China)

Industrial Management & Data Systems

ISSN: 0263-5577

Article publication date: 10 August 2015




The purpose of this paper is to explore different modes of service innovation by examining business model innovation alongside two traditional modes: product innovation and process innovation.


The authors first empirically test a typology using archival data from 69 service innovation projects in a major mobile telecom company. The authors then extend the typology by investigating the interrelationships among service product, service process, and business model innovation based on empirical evidence from multi-mode service innovations. Finally, the authors study the patterns of modes in a networked environment.


The results indicate that the typology is applicable and all three modes of service innovation exist in the sample. The authors find that all of the business model innovations involve external partnerships during the development process, while only a small proportion of service process innovations involve external partnerships.


This study has empirically validated a typology of service innovation and discussed the theoretical and managerial implications of multi-mode innovations, contributing to service innovation literature and practices.



The work described in this paper was substantially supported by the Major Program Fund of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Project No. 71090403/71090400).


Wang, Q., Voss, C., Zhao, X. and Wang, Z. (2015), "Modes of service innovation: a typology", Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 115 No. 7, pp. 1358-1382.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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