And the journey continues…

I ended one of my previous posts by saying that the greatest strength of human kind is our ability to collaborate in ways that well exceeds the understanding of a single individual. Just think of the complexity that characterizes the information-driven modern day society filled with a vast range of continually changing technologies. In order to achieve such complexity of knowledge, humans have had to specialize, that is, to develop specific skills and competences for different individuals and exchange these specialized skills with others. In other words, our knowledge is specialized, yet collective by nature.

How can knowledge by simultaneously specialized and collective by nature? With the first glimpse, it might seem that knowledge resides within a single individual. However, if you think how your knowledge has accumulated over the time, you cannot explain its emergence without accounting for a vast number of people with whom you have interacted over the years – your parents, siblings, relatives, friends, teachers, colleagues and various random acquaintances. In other words, you represent a unique combination of collective knowledge and to make the best use of that knowledge you need to further make it collective by integrating it with the specialized knowledge of others.

In my own journey of accumulating and integrating knowledge, I have had the pleasure to learn from and work with numerous brilliant people across the globe. For the past six years VTT has been my home base from which I have visited other research teams and organizations. Next year I will have the opportunity to enjoy yet another inspiring research environment and new colleagues as the next phase on my journey will take me to the CTF service research center at Karlstad University.

I wish everyone Merry Christmas and success in knowledge integration for the Year 2015!

Joulu2014

CINet Award to VTT service researchers

VTT researchers Inka Lappalainen, Maaria Nuutinen, Tiina Valjakka and Toni Ahonen received the Mariano Corso Best Practical Implications Award for their paper at the 15th CINet Conference that was held in Budapest, Hungary on 7-9 September 2014. The paper was titled “Situated Provider-Customer Interaction as an Arena for Continuous Service Innovations”.

Mariano Corso Best Practical Implications Award is given for a paper which combines academic relevance and rigor with a clear application for the research and easy adaptation for practical use.

The Continuous Innovation Network (CINet) is a global network set up to bring together researchers and industrialists working in the field of Continuous Innovation. The theme of the 15th conference was “Operating Innovation – Innovating Operations”

CINet

(photo courtesy to Tamás Thaler)

Additional information: inka.lappalainen[a]vtt.fi

The Matrix and other paradigms

“Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.” Morpheus

One of my all-time favourite movies is The Matrix. I still remember very vividly the moment when I saw the movie for the first time. I was 15 years old and visiting my relatives in London. I remember being so blown away by it. The trick for me was not the innovative visual effects – though they probably added to the experience – but the story of the Matrix. Could there really exits something so totally blinding that it masks our ability to see how things ‘really’ are? And how was somebody even able to come up with a story like this?

During the last couple of years, I have on several occasions thought of the movie in relation to my research without really been able to articulate why. Last week, when I was reading the first couple of pages of the new book ‘Service-dominant logic: Premises, Perspectives and Possibilities’, it finally hit me why I like the movie so much. It is because The Matrix tells a story similar to paradigmatic change. In the movie the Matrix works basically the same way than a belief system or an institutional logic that is so taken-for-granted that it loses its enabling abilities and becomes overly constraining as we cannot ‘see’ it anymore (if we ever did). In other words, it becomes us. In the scientific community such institutional logics are called as paradigms – and one of these paradigms is referred as the goods-dominant (G-D) logic by Vargo and Lusch.

The G-D paradigm narrows our view on exchange by focusing our attention to units of outputs and manufacturer-centricity [1]. It has long dominated the academia in business and management studies and through education influenced how business is conducted in practice and then through empirical findings been confirmed again by the academia (in other words it is performative by its nature). It is so deeply ingrained in our thinking that it is hard to challenge as we cannot really even acknowledge it. It also guides us to be preoccupied by what Kuhn would call as ‘normal science’ [2].

Fortunately the means for paradigm change are built in the normal science itself through the element of arbitrariness. This means that even in the case of prevailing paradigm there is never only one single and coherent logic shared by all – instead institutional logics are numerous and heterogeneous [3]. As the different logics interact and conflict with one another, they will adapt and change – inevitable these changes will also reach the paradigmatic level of thought and trigger a revolution called a paradigm shift.

In my earlier post, I described parts of my own (r)evolution as a researcher. There was something that I was seeing in my research that was conflicting with the conventional literature on innovation and this made me look for different answers. My search paid off and I was offered with the greatest opportunity of my life.

I chose the red pill and it brought me to Hawaii. Now I am ready to see just how deep the rabbit-hole goes.

References:
[1] Lusch, R.F. and Vargo, S.L. (2014) Service-Dominant Logic: Premises, Perspectives, Possibilities. Cambridge University Press.
[2] Kuhn, T.S. (1962) The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
[3] Thornton, P.H., Ocasio, W. and Lounsbury, M. (2012), The Institutional Logics Perspective: A New Approach to Culture, Structure and Process, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

The Cloud and many facets of value

ValueBy: Kaisa Koskela-Huotari and Andrey Sirotkin

The word value has been used lately a lot in the discussions related to business and the Cloud. What do we, however, mean by value in this context? Roughly, one can argue that the concept of value has evolved into two quite distinct meanings [1]. Firstly, value is used to portray ‘goodness’ of something physically external to a person. This something can be another person, a product, an activity or anything else. Secondly, the concept of value can also describe ‘goodness’ as determined by an individual personally and culturally, and in an ethical sense. Usually in this meaning the plural term – values – is used.

Value (of something) and the Cloud

There are three ways to discuss the concept of value (of something) [2, 3, 4] and the Cloud.

The first one is the value-in-exchange perspective, where the focus is on outputs. Value is seen as something created by companies in their production activities and embedded in company outputs such as tangible products. Therefore, value is measured by the exchange transaction and is equal to money. In the case of the Cloud this perspective would mean e.g. that a Cloud-based service would be regarded valuable on its own – without being used by someone. We would be more worried about what our sales numbers are than do our customers perceive our service beneficial or not.

The second, value-in-use, perspective provides a very different view on value and value creation. Here, the attention is focused on the process of use, and the locus of value creation shifts from the producer’s end to the customer’s end. Hence, value is seen as something that emerges as a person uses or applies a resource provided to him/her by somebody else. For a Cloud-based solution the value-in-use perspective would mean that we would view the solution valuable only when someone is using it – e.g. to share photographs with family and friends – and therefore perceiving the service valuable for him/her.

The third value-in-context perspective can be seen as an extension of the value-in-use perspective. In this perspective value is seen as an experience. This experiential view on value implies that the perception of value is not a linear, cognitive process restricted in isolated events of use but an iterative and circular process including both lived and imaginary experiences as well as individual and collective dimensions. The value-in-context perspective for a Cloud solution would mean that we acknowledge that the value of a service does not remain the same for the individual using in, but that the perception of value constantly alters as the time, place and context of use changes, and also that the perception is influenced by social interaction.

When tapping into the potential of the Cloud it is important that we take into consideration all the different perspectives on value (of something) as they all provide us important information on how we can create solutions that are beneficial both from the business’ and customers’ perspective.

Values as beliefs

A concept of human values is different from that of value (of something). Human values are principles and beliefs that people use to evaluate goodness, fairness and the legitimacy of experiences. Human values are defined in axiological sense. These values are beliefs that people hold in aesthetics (e.g. beauty, harmony, goodness) and ethics (e.g. right, wrong, fair, legitimate). What makes values especially interesting in business studies is their motivational character. Values guide individuals’ choices, evaluate behaviour, and provide meaning to experiences (e.g. [5], [6], [7] and [8]).

Although values are abstract concepts, they are practical for understanding customer experience. By understanding we mean an ability to find reasons or explain meaning. Regardless of whether such explanations are rational or irrational they contain cues for companies for what experiences customers may value. When customers have difficulty with anticipating what future product and services they will value (in terms of goodness of something), they can describe their view of reality in terms of desires and values. Thus, values can be a very useful source of information about customer experiences.

Because values are remarkably stable and resistant to change even in dynamic environments, they may serve as a vector of strategic differentiation. That is, a strategy can be intentionally focused on the perceived value of experience, which is a key differentiation factor. Values, for example, can be used to describe customer desired experiences, which, in turn, can be disseminated throughout the organisational processes. As a result, values bring together strategy, marketing and development functions in a unified effort of staging an experience that customers will value.

This posting is modified and shortened from the original article. To see the full version and to read about more about our research in the Cloud context, check out the newest edition of VTT Research Highlights – Value-driven Business in the Cloud.

References:

[1] Ng., I.C.L. & Smith, L.A. 2012. An Integrative Framework of Value. In Vargo, S.L. & Lusch, R. F. (eds.) Special Issue – Toward a Better Understanding of the Role of Value in Markets and Marketing. Review of Marketing Research, Vol. 9. Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Pp. 207–243.
[2] Vargo, S. L., Maglio, P. P. & Akaka, M. A. 2008. On value and value co-creation: A service systems and service logic perspective. European Management Journal, Vol. 26. Pp. 145–152.
[3] Chandler, J. D. & Vargo S.L. 2011. Contextualization and value-in-context: How context frames exchange. Marketing Theory, Vol. 11. Pp. 35–49.
[4] Helkkula, A., Kelleher, C. & Pihlström, M. 2012. Characterizing value as an experience: implications for service researchers and managers. Journal of Service Research, Vol. 15. Pp. 59–75.
[5] Boudon, R. 2001. The origin of values: Sociology and philosophy of beliefs. New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA: Transaction Publishers.
[6] Kahle, L.R. 1996. Social values and consumer behavior: Research from the list of values. In Seligman, C., Olson, J.M. & Zanna, M.P. (eds.) The psychology of values: The Ontario symposium, Vol. 8. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Pp. 135–151.
[7] Schwartz, S.H. 1992. Universals in the content and structure of values: Theoretical advances and empirical tests in 20 countries. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology. Vol. 25. Pp. 1–65.
[8] Rokeach, M. 1979. Understanding human values: Individual and societal. The Free Press: New York

Value-Driven Business in the Cloud

The latest edition of VTT Research Highlights is now published!

Over the past few years we have witnessed how the Cloud technologies have rapidly evolved and many companies have transformed their business towards global, value-driven business in the Cloud. More and more services are finding their location in the Cloud. It is vital for the competitiveness of the companies that the services the customers value are developed fast and cost-effectively.

DIGILE’s Cloud Software Program (CSW) was initiated in 2010. CSW is the largest collaborative program in the field of ICT in Finland. The four-year program includes several partners from Finnish industry and research organisations. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has been one of the main research partners of the program. VTT’s researchers have been working in a number of industry-driven business cases in collaboration with the companies and academic partners. The research cases have been challenging and have required a solid understanding of software business, processes, tools and methods from a variety of viewpoints. The Cloud Software consortia has achieved great results and generated real business value for many companies. Some of the examples and highlights are presented in this publication.

Click the image for downloading a .pdf version of the book. If you wish to receive a printed version, please send your address to kaarina.karppinen at vtt.fi. We hope you enjoy the read!

Kansi

The importance of citations

Citations document the citing behaviour via scholarly publications. Citations are seen as tokens of recognition in the world of scientific writing: it is mostly accepted that a paper is being cited in order to make a point that is relevant to the subject at hand. It is also seen that citation has social uses, both self-serving and as a tool for persuasion. We all use citations, we all have our reasons for using them. Many of us are being evaluated based on our scientific articles and our citations!

Citations are the major data source in bibliographic data sources such as Scopus, Web of Science and Google Scholar, helping us to study scientific collaboration and the working of science. And as there usually are many citations of each journal article, when looking at many articles, there is a lot of citation data. This data can be presented as lists, graphs as well as with specific metrics.

Network analysis allows for looking at linkages between citations: who cites who. My team used the network approach to compare the scientific fields of relational capital and social capital. So when our Scopus search returned hundreds of articles, all with multiple citations, we created an initial citation network of more than 60,000 authors.

In addition to the interesting visualizations, we noticed something else: we academics are sloppy when we use citations! Very easily we forget the second initial of the author, might even forget a co-author; we do not check the correct spelling of the journal nor the spelling of the author. Hence, in citation datasets, Granovetter M. is listed as a different author from Granovetter, M.S.

With such large amounts of citation data, checking by hand becomes too much. Hence, my team had to create a computer program to do a lot of data cleaning so that Granovetter M. means the same as Granovetter, M.S. The resulting network had about 50,000 authors.

Is this an indicator of researcher sloppiness? Almost 20 percent of the citations are not correct? It could be. Anyways, I know that I will be checking and re-checking the citations that I use in the future. Because they are important.