Some time ago I started MBA studies on Service Excellence at Haaga-Helia.
During my course on new service development one of the most interesting discussions was around an article by de Jong & Vermeulen on a literature review of Organizing successful new service development.
One of the key elements of providing more innovation for organizations is to create a climate that supports it. The authors state that there are two key areas you need to take into consideration for creating a suitable climate for new service development - people and structure. You need to allow external contacts for employees to get more ideas, have access to insights, enable efficient communications between people in the organization, provide autonomy at work, clear goals, strategy, training, IT support and job rotation. We discussed if these shouldn´t be the core elements of any company for succeeding and why would these be the specific success factors for service innovation.
What was the authors´s second point in organizing for new services development was what to me made the difference; you don´t just create a suitable climate but you need to manage the key activities: get product champions, management support, provide structures, systems, processes and techniques (eg brainstorming) to get results. There need to be teams and resources available to enable innovation and spend time on it. We discussed that if both climate and management of people and structures are in place, you should achieve your goals. Benefits and motivation will follow tools and objectives provided.
Service innovation is not ad hoc creativity. It, too, needs being organized in order to generate a continuous stream of results.