As the recession bites I’m seeing increasing interest in innovation in services.  Those in manufacturing have explored most of the cost-cutting that’s open to them and are now asking how to add services for differentiation.  The more sophisticated are exploring the whole ‘experience’ of working with them, and are finding that adopting a service mindset is valuable.  Companies in the service sector have also cut costs and are now exploring the potential for innovation.

All this against the backdrop of the Services Directive, due for implementation across Europe by December 2009 with the objective of removing barriers across the Community to trade and competition in services.  This was the focus of an interesting meeting at NESTA last week, “Towards a strategy for services in the UK & Europe”, at which NESTA and BERR presented the consultation papers and sought feedback from the audience.  In an example of innovation in government services they have also set up a site (sigs.intelligus.net/portal/site/sigs/) to encourage a discussion community about the subject.  Certainly worth a look if you sell services across Europe or would like to do so in future.

Part of the work done by DIUS, BERR and NESTA in this area includes a report “Supporting Innovation in Services”. (www.berr.gov.uk/files/file47440.pdf).  While their focus is policy driven, don’t let this put you off a report which contains  several sources of insight and stimulation for innovation.  They look at drivers and trends, such as the evolution of the web, and include several innovation examples and case studies.  Worth a quick skim for ideas and insights.

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