The report was developed for Tekes, the main public funding organisation for research and development in Finland. It was written by Stephen Ezell, Tim Ogilvie, and Jeneanne Rae. Jeneanne used to be at IDEO, and is often to be found making a very interesting point about Service and Experience in Business Week magazine.
Even small service companies can be successful in competing against large corporations in the global environment, provided that they understand very clearly the needs of their customers and that they know how to package their service concept. According to a recent report prepared by Peer Insight (USA) for Tekes, customer experience is becoming an even more important competitive factor than the service product itself. The report analyses innovative American service concepts from various sectors.
“Business development in services companies, regardless of the sector, must begin with the customers, not the competitors. Today’s customers are very demanding and aware, which is why launching a new service requires deep insight into currently unmet customer needs and the ability to turn this knowledge into a unique customer experience. An increasing number of successful service companies are born out of an entrepreneur being able to meet customer needs that have been overlooked and unrecognised by traditional companies,” says Tim Ogilvie, CEO of Peer Insight, a research and consulting firm.
The case studies reveal how service innovators go beyond the traditional types of innovation and explore the white space in their markets. That is, they look beyond the traditional competitive levers to uncover new ways to create value for customers. The analysis using the Ten Types of Innovation shows several new areas in which service companies are innovating – including the value network, the channel, and the business model – to create high-growth businesses. The most innovative firms in our research are skilled at (1) focusing on the white space that competitors have overlooked, (2) getting deep insight into customer needs in that white space, and (3) translating those needs into unique customer experiences.
(via Alex Nisbett’s Buena Vista blog)