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Publication date: 25 February 2019

Sarah Lai-Yin Cheah, Yinping Yang and Ozcan Saritas

This paper aims to discuss a foresight study conducted in Singapore’s national R&D agency to help science and technology decision makers identify key capability areas of R&D…



This paper aims to discuss a foresight study conducted in Singapore’s national R&D agency to help science and technology decision makers identify key capability areas of R&D investment to support the manufacturing industry’s growth in the country and the region.


Using horizon scanning, scenario analysis and expert opinion, nine capabilities are identified as core areas to be developed to support the country’s future growth of product-service systems.


The results of a Delphi survey involving 30 industry and academic thought leaders recommend priorities of these capabilities. This paper concludes with a discussion of the study implications for theory, research and practice in the domain of servitisation and product-service systems.

Research limitations/implications

The foresight study presented here on the future of servitisation in Singapore demonstrates one of the first fully fledged applications of foresight in constructing a coherent vision of future product-service system markets. In this study, the authors applied systemic foresight methodology (SFM) comprising the first six phases: initiation (scoping), intelligence (scanning), imagination (scenarios), integration (priorities), interpretation (strategies) and implementation (action).For future research, an ideal step would be to proceed with the final phase of the SFM, impact, to develop indicators for servitisation and to monitor and evaluate the transition process.

Practical implications

Manufacturing and services are no longer distinct concepts with a clear divide. Manufacturing firms not only become more service dependent but also produce and provide services for their consumers. This transformation towards servitisation implies fundamental re-organisation of the production and management practices. Furthermore, through new business models, new and loyal customers will be gained, which will in turn bring additional income, while making the companies less prone to economic and business fluctuations.

Social implications

The results of this study have practical implications for policymakers of public and private sectors that are interested in playing a key role in future product-service system innovation. These have implications for developing the human and intellectual capital that are required for supporting the future innovation. Institutes of higher learning and vocational institutes should also consider incorporating new curricula and modules to build the capabilities for knowledge creation and transfer.


The findings of the present study on strategic growth areas and relevant critical capabilities provide new directions for research in the field of servitisation. Among the nine capabilities identified, the top three were advanced customer intelligence capability, socio-physical service quality, traceability and maintainability and integrated strategic decision-making. From the results, it is apparent that advanced customer intelligence capability is both an area of importance to Singapore and the world.


foresight, vol. 21 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689


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