Implementation of design thinking for collaborative service innovation in SMEs: A knowledge perspective

Gao, Bin (2019) Implementation of design thinking for collaborative service innovation in SMEs: A knowledge perspective. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Full text available as:
[img] PDF
Download (3MB)
Printed Thesis Information:


Innovation is a key socio-economic motivator (Laforet, 2012; Kurz, 2012). Recent studies have revealed the global innovative potential of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) (Wymenga et al.; 2012, Muller, 2015). Contemporary studies suggest that, despite the role played by innovation in enabling SMEs to survive and thrive, they have been hindered by inadequate, in particular, physical resources, such as funds and technology (Laforet and Tann, 2006; Laforet, 2009).
Lusch and Vargo (2008) argue that Service Dominant Logic (SDL) provides a new means of looking at value, one which emphasises that it is co-created by users and providers. Within this logic, attention focuses on service innovation, on the assumption that conventional definitions of innovation, which derive from product/ technical perspectives, do not fully explain the phenomena, particularly in SMEs (Droege et al., 2009; den Hertog et al., 2010). Service innovation is believed to result, in the main, from non-technological sources (Drejer, 2004; Carlborg et al., 2014). Lusch and Vargo (2008) stress that SDL focuses on knowledge as an essential ingredient for value co-creation, in contrast to Good-Dominant Logic (GDL), which emphasises physical or operand resources. They further argue that service innovation is a process, from which new products, services, and technologies are generated, rather than an output in the case of GDL (Mele et al., 2014; Lusch and Nambisan, 2015). Knowledge exchange as a process of value co-creation is therefore essential for service innovation. SMEs should be well placed to exploit the potential of service innovation as they are: close to their customers; have flatter structures; more effective internal communication; and possess a more positive attitude to risk-taking (Laforet, 2012).
Further development of theories and definitions relating to service innovation have been called for (Droege et al., 2009), however, progress to date has been limited (Droege et al., 2009; Carlborg et al., 2014; Valtakoski and Järvi, 2016). This thesis, by adopting and contextualising as a framework the six-dimensional (6-D) model of service innovation (den Hertog et al., 2010), examines service innovation in SMEs from a knowledge perspective.
This research is contextualised by an initiative, Creating Cultures of Innovation (CCoI), a Scottish Government sponsored project conducted by the Glasgow School of Art (GSA). This initiative was intended to enhance the performance of SMEs by design-led interventions, releasing the creativity of SMEs by engaging key stakeholders in collaborative knowledge exchange. A qualitative multiple case-study explores the extent to which intervention triggers both knowledge exchange and innovation.
Results of this research contribute to the literature by enriching our understanding of service innovation from a knowledge perspective (Droege et al., 2009; Valtakoski and Järvi, 2016; Witell et al., 2016); by contextualising and exploring the 6-D model of service innovation in traditional SMEs (den Hertog et al., 2010); by understanding the interactions with the key stakeholders in the service ecosystem of an organisation (Carlborg et al., 2014; Mele et al., 2014; Lusch & Nambisan, 2015); and, by providing empirical evidence for the development of SDL in a context of non-knowledge intensive SMEs (Lusch & Nambisan, 2015). Practically, this research also provides a service innovation lens through which the CCoI initiative may be evaluated. From an operational perspective, the research suggests a means, design thinking interventions, by which traditional SMEs exploit service innovation. Lastly, the results provide an insight for policy makers wishing to enhance the innovative performance of Scottish SMEs.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Service Dominant Logic, SMEs, service innovation, design thinking.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School
Supervisor's Name: Paton, Prof. Robert and Wilson, Dr. James
Date of Award: 2019
Depositing User: Mr. Bin Gao
Unique ID: glathesis:2019-30903
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2018 15:05
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2022 13:37
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.30903

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year