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Mapping the intangible: Service design tools for understanding customer value in business model innovation for servitization
Halmstad University, School of Business, Engineering and Science, Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Research (CIEL), Business Model Innovation (BMI).
University of Mondragón, Mondragón, Spain.
Halmstad University, School of Business, Engineering and Science, Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Research (CIEL), Business Model Innovation (BMI).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5849-1442
Halmstad University, School of Business, Engineering and Science, Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Research (CIEL).
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2016 (English)In: Book of Abstracts: 4th International Business Servitization Conference: Rey Juan Carlos University: Madrid, November 19–20, 2015, OmniaScience , 2016, 29-32 p.Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In business model innovation (BMI) for servitization, it is essential for manufacturer to identify a set of specific (non)monetary and (in)tangible value attributes (Prior, 2013), that specify the valuable features of product, service, parts of delivery process and even business relationship. Such understanding of customer value serves as the basis for further design of the new product-service system and how it can be created and delivered (Frankenberger et al., 2013). However, developing understanding about customer value becomes one of the main challenges for manufacturers trying to servitize (Martinez et al., 2010; Mathieu, 2001) due to several reasons. Firstly, manufacturers and their customers perceive what is valuable differently (Lindgreen et al., 2012). Secondly, intangible nature of servitized value propositions makes it difficult for manufacturers to change their traditionally product-focused transactional models into the ones providing long-term relationship-based product-service offerings (Vladimirova et al., 2011). Finally, there is lack of tools and procedure guidance on how manufacturers can approach customer value identification in B2B context in practice, especially its intangible part (Keränen & Jalkala, 2013) that goes beyond straightforward financial value.

Service design has already been suggested as a potential enabler to support manufactures in “how” to practically approach servitization transformation (e.g., Sangiorgi et al., 2012; Thurston & Cawood, 2011) due to its human-centred, creative, iterative approach to the creation of new services (Blomkvist, Holmlid, & Segelström 2010). In this paper we study how service design tools can facilitate understanding customer value in BMI for servitization. We use several empirical cases with manufacturers that are in the initial phase of BMI for servitization (Simonchik et al., 2015; Val et al., 2013). In these cases, we study how the use of selected service design visualization tools (Maps, Narratives, Images & Flows) through co-creation workshops helps manufacturers to (i) identify tangible and intangible value attributes (e.g. product quality, service flexibility etc. and (ii) use them further in designing new product-service systems.

Preliminary case analysis shows that service design tools help participants think beyond their products, providing a broader perspective of the complete value proposition throughout the whole customer experience including products, services, processes of delivery and relationships. The understanding of how the customer will potentially interact with the future value proposition lays the groundwork for the design of new product-service systems. The cases also show that service design visualization tools provide the ability to experiment with how to create and deliver specific tangible and intangible value attributes in a quick and easy way through mapping and prototyping. With this paper we hope to contribute to manufacturer’s efforts in increasing their service orientation in BMI for servitization. Results of this study have implications for managers at manufacturer’s side putting effort to overcome among others such challenges of servitization as changing the product-centred perspective of own employees (Löfberg, 2014).


Blomkvist, J., Holmlid, S., & Segelström, F. (2010). This Is Service Design Research: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. In This Is Service Design Thinking, Stickdorn M., & Schneider, J. eds. Amsterdam: BIS Publishers, 308-315.

Frankenberger, K., Weiblen, T., Csik, M., & Gassmann, O. (2013). The 4I-framework of business model innovation: an analysis of the process phases and challenges. International Journal of Product Development, 18(3), 249-273.

Keränen, J., & Jalkala, A. (2013). Towards a framework of customer value assessment in B2B markets: An exploratory study. Industrial Marketing Management, 42(8), 1307-1317.

Lindgreen, A., Hingley, M.K., Grant, D.B., & Morgan, R.E. (2012). Value in business and industrial marketing: Past, present, and future. Industrial Marketing Management, 41(1), 207-214.

Löfberg, N. (2014). Service Orientation in Manufacturing Firms - Understanding Challenges with Service Business Logic. Doctoral Dissertation. Karlstad University Studies. Sweden.

Martinez, V., Bastl, M., Kingston, J., & Evans, S. (2010). Challenges in transforming manufacturing organisations into product-service providers. Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, 2(4), 449-469.

Mathieu, V. (2001). Service strategies within the manufacturing sector: benefits, costs, and partnership. International Journal of Service Industry Management, 12(5), 451–475.

Prior, D.D. (2013). Supplier representative activities and customer perceived value in complex industrial solutions. Industrial Marketing Management, 42(8), 1192-1201.

Sangiorgi, D., Fogg, H., Johnson, S., Maguire, G., Caron A., & Vijakumar, L. (2012). Think Services. Supporting manufacturing companies in their move toward services. In Service Design and Innovation Conference, ServDes2012, (pp. 253-263). Helsinki, Finland.

Simonchik, A., Iriarte, I., Hoveskog, M., Halila F., & Justel, D. (2015). Service Design Tools for Business model innovation in B2B. In British Academy of Management Conference 2015 BAM 2015. Portsmouth, UK.

Thurston, P., & Cawood, G. (2011). The Product Advantage from Service Design. Design Management Review, 22(4), 70-75.

Val, E., Iriarte, I., Perez de Arenaza A., Alzaga, X., & Arrieta, X. (2013). Human Centered Design in Danobat Group Railways. In 17th International Congress on Project Management and Engineering, (pp. 1502-1510), Logroño, Spain.

Vladimirova, D., Evans, S., Martinez, V., & Kingston, J. (2011). Elements of Change in the Transformation towards Product Service Systems. In J. Hesselbach & C. Herrmann (eds.), Functional Thinking for Value Creation: Proceedings of the 3rd CIRP International Conference on Industrial Product Service Systems, (pp. 21-26). Technische Universität Braunschweig, Germany.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
OmniaScience , 2016. 29-32 p.
Keyword [en]
Service Design Tools, Customer Value, Business Model Innovation, Service Design Tools, Customer Value, Servitization
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-29549ISBN: 978-84-944673-3-2OAI: diva2:858120
4th International Conference on Business Servitization (ICBS 2015), Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, Spain, November 19-20, 2015
BMI Wind
Knowledge Foundation
Available from: 2015-10-01 Created: 2015-10-01 Last updated: 2016-03-29Bibliographically approved

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