E-service – knowledge services, entrepreneurship, and the consequences for business customers and citizens
The project will run for 3 years from 1. February 2004 to 31. January 2007.
Aim of the project
This project focuses on the role of knowledge services (all firms producing knowledge services whether service or manufacturing firms) in the knowledge based society and how knowledge services develop new entrepreneurship and research and development (R&D) forms. Particular emphasis will be placed on the introduction of ICT-networks as a production and delivery instrument (e-service) and customer involvement as catalysts for development of new entrepreneurial forms.
The project is composed of three parts:
Part 1. State of the art and theory development: Literature survey to investigate what is already known about this topic and further theory development.
Part 2. Case studies in knowledge service firms and their clients.
Part 3. Creation of future scenarios of knowledge service’s and ICT-networks’ role in the future knowledge society. The scenarios will be based on the case studies and the literature survey.
2. Project Partners
The project will be carried out by two research institutions, Center for Information and Communication Technologies (CICT), DTU, and Center for Service Studies, RUC, who together cover an interdisciplinary field, and a consultancy firm, NewInsight. A major part of the project will be carried out by a PhD scholar thus education of a new, young researcher is also included.
The main research issues to address will be the following:
• Description of use of ICT-networks (e.g. internet, mobile solutions) in service production and delivery.
• Description of the form and the degree (based on existing characteristics and value parameters) of entrepreneurship.
• Analysis of drivers and impediments behind the new ICT-based forms of entrepreneurship.
• Analysis of the firms’ strategies concerning entrepreneurship and the use of ICT-networks in their service production and provision.
• Analysis of customer involvement in innovation and entrepreneurship activities.
• Analyse of the use of external networks, particularly with research institutions and universities, in the entrepreneurial activities
Other issues will be developed throughout the project if found in the case studies.
Part 1: State of the art - literature survey and theory development
A review of the state of the art will be carried out through a survey of the literature done by the PhDscholar. As is common in social science research projects the PhD scholars will use databases, academic journals, dissertations, books and research reports to put our research issues into perspective and relate or research questions to the research front. The focus should be on (1) key concepts, models and theories, (2) research methods and (3) empirical results. However, a degree of freedom to formulate the survey should be left to the PhD scholar.
This forms an important basis for the case studies and for the scenario part of the project. However, the aim is not solely to sum up and replicate existing theory but also – on the basis of the combined theoretical and empirical work in the project – to contribute to the theoretical development of the studies on knowledge services and their importance for the economy and social development in general. The total group of researchers will contribute to this work.
Part 2: Case studies
The method to study the main objective - how does the possibility of using ICT-networks as a production and delivery instrument and customer involvement create new forms of entrepreneurship in knowledge service firms - will be case studies.
Some of the most advanced knowledge service firms will be selected. By advanced we mean firms that are most entrepreneurial concerning developing new knowledge services, new business models, new forms of R&D, including customer involvement, or new forms of service production by using ICT-networks. Which firms that actually may be are assessed on the basis of a criteria-catalogue. By means of these criteria newspapers, journals etc. should be evaluated and industry experts (trade associations, unions etc.) should be interviewed to find the most advanced knowledge service firms.
The case studies should investigate the drivers and impediments of the most entrepreneurial knowledge service firms as well as the consequences of these new forms of entrepreneurship. The case studies thus will demonstrate best practices. Since the PhD scholar will carry out most case studies, a certain degree of freedom should be left to the PhD to design his or hers case studies. However, the other members of the research consortium will supplement with other case studies.
Case study method
The selected firms should be studied in depth. Several interviews should be carried out in each firm, documentary material will be analysed, and the firms’ use of databases with information about their customers and their interaction with customers via ICT-networks should be included in the data sets. There should also be studies of the selected knowledge services firms’ clients (firms as well as private customers) – how they participate in the innovation process in the knowledge service firms, their needs for and use of knowledge services. This should include interviews with the clients, observation and writing of diaries. There should also be interviews with external actors, including universities and other research institutions that the firm is interacting with through external networks.
Part 3: Future scenarios
Part 3 will be carried out by NewInsight. However, the other members of the research group will participate in the planning and provide input to the scenarios. They will also participate as experts in the scenario writing process.
The goals of the future scenario part are:
• To explore the long-term development in knowledge service and
• To develop a tool for knowledge service businesses that will help the single company to explore their own long-term future development in and with knowledge services when ICT networks is a production and delivery instrument.The three parts of the project will be coordinated and all project participants will collaborate closely.
The project should fulfil the following objectives:
1. Investigate how the most advanced knowledge service firms develop new forms of entrepreneurship (establishment of new firms and corporate entrepreneurship (cf. Pinchot 1985) within existing firms). This may include more formalised R&D activities.
2. Investigate which role the possibility of developing e-services by using ICT-networks (information and communication technology) plays in the development of new forms of entrepreneurship in knowledge service firms.
3. Investigate which role the knowledge service firms’ customers - citizens and firms - play in their entrepreneurship (or innovation) process and how new knowledge services affect the customers’ functions.
4. Investigate which networks the knowledge service firms use in their innovation or entrepreneurship activities.
5. Investigate service infusion in manufacturing companies and the entrepreneurial activities that could cause.
6. Create one or more scenarios about the role of knowledge services in the future knowledge society.
7. Be the basis for NewInsight to develop a new advisory product, a scenario instrument that can be used by knowledge service firms using ICT networks as a production and delivery tool.