User involvement in service innovations

Eija Kaasinen, Mari Ainasoja, Elina Vulli, Heli Paavola, Riina Hautala, Pauliina Lehtonen, Esa Reunanen

    Research output: Book/ReportReport

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    The importance of user orientation in innovation activities is nowadays emphasized not only in business life but also in political and societal discussions. In today's competed and changing market situations, one promising way to support market success are innovations originating from the needs of the customers. The traditional division to product-oriented and service-oriented business is blurring as traditional products are equipped with service elements that bring additional value to customers. Service orientation in business changes the connection to the customers: it is not enough to be able to sell the product to the customer once but the service customer has to be kept satisfied every day. Service providers need to know their customers better and to offer them better possibilities to be involved in service development. In this report we present a review of the current state of the art in user involvement in service innovations. The review is based on three different research viewpoints: marketing and business research, human-centred design and media research. In each of these research fields we can see a similar trend of changing the attitude towards users; from passive research object to an active design partner, potential resource and co-producer. The transition from product design to service design requires that design and usage should be more firmly connected - the design does not end when the service is launched but the design continues in use where the users are creating content for the service. The users shape usage practises in actual use and this may indicate needs to refine the service. That is why service providers should have good channels to monitor the users and to listen to their ideas and feedback. In addition to user involvement in the actual design process and during use, users should increasingly be involved also in early innovation phases, in ideating what kinds of services should be designed for them and with them. Different users can give different contributions to service innovation and their motivations and preferred ways to participate vary. Different roles in the innovation process should be available to user groups such as lead users, ordinary users, advanced users, critical users and non-users. User communities are increasingly important sources of innovations, either existing communities or new communities that are grown around the service. Customer interaction may shorten the development cycle and improve the quality of innovations. Successful user involvement, however, requires that the organisation has methods and processes to gather and analyse user data as well as to integrate user data in the design process. User involvement is especially useful in the early stages of service development processes due to their high uncertainty and low formalisation. Direct user-designer interaction helps in transferring user feedback and ideas to service innovations. Designers' direct interaction with users is also beneficial as it seems to change designers' mindset smoothly from technical features to user experience, thus boosting better designs. User experience of the service is improved when users themselves can contribute to developing the service.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationEspoo
    PublisherVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
    Number of pages69
    ISBN (Electronic)978-951-38-7652-4
    ISBN (Print)978-951-38-7652-4
    Publication statusPublished - 2010
    MoE publication typeNot Eligible

    Publication series

    SeriesVTT Tiedotteita - Research Notes


    • service design
    • user-driven innovation
    • service innovation
    • co-creation
    • customer orientation


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