“Service has arrived in a new and better shape, more prepared to deal with the contemporary economy. Still this is a starting point: Service deserves more attention on our research agenda!” (clip of Reasoning for Naples Forum on Service)
We had a great opportunity take part to the third Naples Forum on Service, which is conference focusing on three research pillars: service-dominant logic, service science and network and systems theory. The conference was located in beautiful island of Ischia in close distance from city of Naples in Italy. In addition to thrilling views, sunny sky and bright blue oceans, conference offered us many research related experiences and insights, which have notable future value potential. Instead of explaining what we found valuable for us during the conference, in the following we debate how and when value of conferences can be actualized.
Conference as a platform for co-creating value
When sitting on an airplane on my way back to home from the conference I started to think about the value of Naples forum for me and for VTT. The probable reason for my thoughts was that this question is often asked after conference (to justify the made investment). On the other hand, another apparent reason was that during the conference we had many interesting presentations and informal discussions about the concept of value and value co-creation. After short puzzling, I realized that this type of conference does not create value per se, but enables opportunities for value co-creation among the participants. Thereby, conference should be seen as a platform for value co-creation, which enables researchers all over the world to present and discuss their ideas, take ideas to next level by challenging them, plant seeds for new ideas, co-operation and joint projects, create new relationships to other academics or even build life-long friendship to other like-minded people.
But how is my subjective value experience in the end created? When going through many unforgettable experiences from the conference I realized that my subjective value during the conference emerged through various types of incidents that I had experienced (e.g. inspiring presentations, feedback to my work, gala dinner with amazing people). However, because value is context specific, the value of these incidents change in time depending, for example, on where I will be, what will I do, and how I can complement these experiences with other things. Therefore, importance of certain incident at the conference may seem today irrelevant (low value), but future may reveal this incident highly valuable.
Furthermore, conference presented us numerous opportunities to co-create value in the future. Firstly, the conference is so full of interesting presentations and discussions, that you need some time on your own to process these ideas and insights. In addition, the value of the conference may be revealed later on when insights from the conference are combined with insights from other sources (e.g. resulting in to a finding of original idea for PhD. thesis). Secondly, I would argue that the most of the value for me and especially for the VTT will be actualized after the conference through realizing numerous opportunities that this type of collaboration enables (e.g research exchange, joint projects). Thereby, if someone would ask what was the value of Naples Forum, I would explain that it was very educative, inspiring, fun, warm and warm-hearted conference, but in order to understand full value of conference we will have to see what the future reveals.
What is Naples Forum on Service?
The Naples Forum on Service is mostly academic conference, which built around three scientific pilars which are service-dominant logic, networks & systems theory and service science. First Naples Forum was organised in 2009 at the small island of Capri. The idea of the conference was to overcame geographical constrains and bring researchers interested in service research together to share ideas and discuss informally with each other. This year Naples Forum was organised for the third time, and the forum is nowadays recognized as a conference where most influential service academics are present, but at the same time the atmosphere has remained very open and relaxed. Next Naples forum is scheduled to be organised in 2015.