Service innovation

Yesterday at work the repeated discussion we are having on 'service innovation' re-surfaced. Like others we believe there are methods for offering services not just in a 'better sameness' way but in an altogether different way. What seems to be a sticking point is a practical method for helping organizations think through how they can get to the altogether different way.

A site I have just come across Consortium for Service Innovation has a helpful range of tools and resources around service innovation including a paper "Observations on Innovation" which offers some good start-points on the topic plus a useful model (albeit the usual 2 x 4 box) that is straightforward to follow.

Additionally they have a methodology and a related certification Knowledge-Centered Support Principles Certification Exam as a means to test and then recognize individuals that can demonstrate their comprehension of KCS. What I find the conundrum in this (and related innovation services things) is that the way they are offered is not innovative at all. Thus the certification follows the standard US approach to certification "Each exam consists of 65 multiple choice questions and must be completed in 75 minutes. A minimum score of 80% is required to pass a certification exam, unless otherwise published".

Similarly, websites on innovation are rarely presented in an innovative way, and presentations on innovation still use PowerPoint slides. I can't help feeling that companies peddling innovation services training, consulting, or advice must show in their approaches that they are innovative but there (again) is the rub – innovative ways of doing things are somewhat scary. Companies want to know who else is doing something like this, and are frightened off by anything that looks out of the range of 'normal'. So the search for the fine line between better sameness and truly different (with all that this involves) continues in our company.