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

Yli aitojen! 22.10.2014 Espoossa

Yli Aitojen! Iltapäiväseminaari palveluista, verkostoista ja kansainvälistymisestä

Palveluliiketoiminnan edelläkävijät pistävät pakettiin Tekesin Serve -ohjelman viimeisiä tutkimusprojekteja. Nyt on vuorossa SHINE- ja SerFinChi -projektien päätösseminaari. Molempien projektien ytimessä on suomalaisten business-to-business -yritysten uudistuminen ja asiakkaalle arvoa tuottavien palveluiden ja ratkaisujen kehittäminen ja toimittaminen verkostoissa.

Tervetuloa mukaan keskustelemaan!

Aika ja paikka: Keskiviikko 22.10.2014 klo 13-16, Digitalo (Tekniikantie 3, Espoo)

Ohjelma ja >Ilmoittautumislinkki<

13:00 Seminaarin avaus, Marja Toivonen, tutkimusprofessori, VTT
13:10 Internationalisation of SME´s in KIBS-sector to China, Sen Bao, tutkija, VTT
13:40 Pk-yrityksen matka kansainvälisille markkinoille, Tomi Luostarinen, Stereoscape
14:10 Kahvitauko
14:30  Palveluintegraattoriksiko?, Juhani Vanhala, Business Line Director, Centralized & Professional Services,  Empower Oy
15:00 Työkaluja yritysverkoston ohjaamiseen, Katri Valkokari, johtava tutkija, VTT 
15:15 Uutta arvoa asiakaskokemuksella, Minna Suutari, Fiiliksestä fyrkkaa ohjelmapäällikkö, Tekes
15:45 Loppukeskustelu

 

SerFinChi – Branding of Finnish Service Concepts in China and Far East -projektissa tutkittiin suomalaisten brändien palvelukonsepteja Kaukoidässä ja palveluliiketoiminnassa menestymistä kansainvälisessä kilpailussa.  Kohteena oli erityisesti Kiinan markkinoiden erityispiirteet ja  verkostoitumismallien löytäminen uuteen ja innovatiiviseen liiketoimintaan (kestävään kehitykseen, ympäristöystävällisiin kaupunkeihin ja 3D-filmiteknologiaan). Projektin yrityskumppaneina olivat KIBSit, jotka osoittavat että pienetkin yritykset voivat olla arvokkaita verkoston kutojia.

SHINE – Service Network Integrator – projektissa keskityttiin yrityksen palveluintegraattorin rooliin verkoston ohjaamisessa. Integraattori tuottaa arvoa asiakkaalle yhdistämällä osaamisia, koordinoimalla verkostoa ja vastaamalla asiakassuuntaan useamman toimittajan rakentamasta kokonaisuudesta.  Projektissa tutkittiin erilaisia yhteistyömalleja arvonluonnissa asiakkaalle, ja miten eri rooleja vaihdellen, koko verkoston osaamista hyödyntäen ja liiketoimintamalleja yhteen sovittaen ratkaisuja kehitetään ja toimitetaan erilaisissa verkostoissa.

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

RESER 2014: The key to economic development is interaction between services and technology

VTT hosted the 24th annual RESER (European Association for Research on Services) conference that took place during September 11–13 at the Finlandia Hall in Helsinki. VTT’s Research Professor Marja Toivonen was responsible for scientific questions at the event.

The theme of this year’s RESER conference was “Services and New Societal Challenges – Innovation for Sustainable Growth and Welfare”. Emphasis was on the central role of services in solving current economic problems. Problems such as the ageing population, social exclusion, climate change and economic recession demand the development of service industries and systems. In all the developed countries, the service industry forms about two thirds of production and employment. Added to this, today’s key phenomenon is the growth of services within industry, a change that the industrial internet will help to accelerate in the near future.

The introductory speech was made by VTT Executive Vice President Jouko Suokas, who used examples from the business world to illustrate how interaction between services and technology can be used to promote both economic success and user satisfaction. The conference closed with the chance to hear the ideas of Pekka Lindroos, Commercial Counsellor from the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, on how services can be raised to a prominent position in Finland’s industrial policy.

The main speakers at the conference were Professor Stephen Vargo from the United States, who researches value co-creation and service ecosystems, and Professor Jon Sundbo from Denmark, a specialist in innovative service strategies. Conference participants made a total of 142 presentations in 36 separate sessions. Session subjects covered e.g. social innovations, smart transport and other systemic innovations, new business models, agile innovation processes and the challenges of internationalisation.

RESER is a network of groups and individuals active in services research and strongly focused on societal issues, targeting results that can be applied in practice. The multidisciplinary association involves the participation of specialists in economics, engineering, commercial science, sociology, regional science and humanities. Taking part in the conference were 194 representatives from 27 countries, those outside Europe including Japan, China and South American countries.

Reser14

 

VTT Award Marja Toivoselle!

Tutkimusprofessori Marja Toivonen on valittu vuoden 2013 VTT Award -palkinnon saajaksi. VTT Award jaetaan vuosittain yhdelle henkilölle poikkeuksellisen erinomaisesta suorituksesta ja vuoden 2013 palkkio myönnettiin erityisesti tiedon ja osaamisen jakamisesta VTT:llä.

VTT Service Science Odyssey -blogi onnittelee Marjaa tästä upeasta saavutuksesta!

Marja Toivonen toimii VTT:llä palveluinnovaatioiden ja -liiketoimintamallien tutkimusprofessorina. Hän on edistänyt merkittävästi VTT:n osaamisen kehittämistä, tiedon jakamista ja näkyvyyttä sekä vaikuttavuutta kotimaassa ja kansainvälisesti. Tämä työ on vaikuttanut poikkeuksellisen positiivisesti hyvin laajan tutkijajoukon toimintaan. Toivosen työ on johtanut uusiin strategisesti merkittäviin avauksiin VTT:llä ja tuonut mukanaan taloudellisesti merkittäviä hankkeita. Toivonen on myös aktiivisesti osallistunut nuorten tutkijoiden ohjaamiseen ja myötävaikuttanut kansainväliseen tutkijavaihtoon.

Katso video Marjan alustuksesta tammikuisessa Northern Service Day 2014 -tapahtumassa Oulussa.

 

Research Professor Marja Toivonen has received the 2013 VTT Award. The VTT Award is presented annually for outstanding individual performance. Emphasis on 2013 was on knowledge sharing at VTT.

VTT Service Science Odyssey blog congratulates Marja for this great accomplishment!

Service research gains more momentum at VTT

VTT is undergoing a large restructuration process and the new organizational structure will be effective from the beginning of the year 2014. One of the guiding principles behind the transformation is to more strongly connect technological and business aspects of research together. At the same time the aim is to increase both the scientific and the societal impact of the research carried out at VTT. This is good news for service research as it is increasingly acknowledged that the service perspective relates to all business. Along with the spread of the service-dominant (S-D) logic perspective, it is realized that service provision is the enabler of value co-creation and that value is always co-created with customers. Therefore, service business is not limited to specific types of industries or products, but it is the fundamental basis of all economic activity.

OpportunitiesVTT’s has strong expertise in service networks and value chains. In the last couple of years this competence has been enriched by the ecosystem perspective that emphasizes the dynamics and dependences among the actors. VTT excels in studying these dependencies e.g. by system modelling methods. In VTT’s new organization the ecosystem perspective is explicitly emphasized when defining new Expert Areas; this perspective is important for both traditional and newly developing industries.

In addition, major emphasis is placed on innovation and foresight. In business development it is not enough to consider current challenges, but the aim should be in identifying the future opportunities for innovation.  VTT is one of the few research organizations in the world, who is actively combining S-D logic and innovation research together. S-D logic highlights the importance of innovations that change the logic of markets and are not limited to specific products or services. An important question is how innovations gain ground in markets – to answer this question S-D logic examines the process of institutionalization of novelties.

VTT has a dual role of being a research organization and a provider of knowledge-intensive expert services. This combination creates a challenge of how to simultaneously serve our customers here and now in the best possible way, and to increase our knowledge and competences in the long run so that we can serve them also in the future. For VTT’s business research this means that we have increasingly ‘package’ our competences and make them visible. Already now VTT has several tools, such as business models and service productization models, that can act as the basis for such packages. Collaboration between the experts in VTT is increasingly required in order to apply these models together with our customers. In addition, collaboration is needed among the broader research community – in Finland and internationally.

The future prospects for VTT’s service and business research look promising, but making them reality requires intensive work from us all.

Marja Toivonen, Research Professor

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

Master and Apprentice, or Teacher and Student

The old-fashioned way to become a master of something has been through the “master-and-apprentice” – method. Young and inexperienced workers team-up with more experienced colleaques, and the long process of “do-as-I-show-you” begins. This has been the custom since the Middle Ages, when master craftsmen would train young novices. The same approach still lives in the 21st century, just developed into something called “mentoring”. The term “mentoring” comes  from Homer’s Odyssey:

 ”Odysseus asked Mentor to act as a foster-dad for his son Telemachus,
when Odysseus left for the Trojan War”.

The apprentice is nowadays called actor or mentee. Today’s mentors do not so much tell apprentices to “do-as-I-show-you”, but rather encourage them in exploring their careers to new dimensions, coach and train the actors to see other viewpoints, and most importantly: transfer tacit knowledge. In knowledge intensive organizations, there’s a lot of tacit knowledge hanging around, we just don’t always see it. There is no way to document everything and – even if there was – there would be no one with enough time to read all that. Mentors, with their experience and know-how, can see the relevant aspects of tacit knowledge and transfer that to apprentices. Apprentices, on the other hand, can challenge the “old viewpoint” and develop new, fresh ways to implement tacit knowledge in the company. The feedback from apprentices also provides the mentors possibilities to discover something new.

Here at VTT mentoring is an activity which covers the entire organization, from scientists to customer managers, from financial personnel to team leaders. The official mentoring program at VTT is a year long activity, and has currently some 50 mentor-actor pairs engaged. From our team Pasi in involved as an actor, and is being mentored by Marko Jurvansuu (principal scientist / key account manager) for the customer management – track.

Service research – connecting research disciplines at VTT

At VTT, service research was first done in connection with traditional engineering disciplines, but recent years have seen service research targeting service businesses more broadly, along with public services. Today, the total volume of research projects focusing primarily on services has reached an annual level of several million euros. In parallel with this development, service research has become a theme that connects different research disciplines at VTT. Service research is now highly visible and important part of R&D projects tackling, for example, research problems of information and communication technology, the built environment, and security. Service research has proved to be successful in providing a common language for collaboration of researchers with different research backgrounds working on problems in different domains.

In our research organisation, service research has become a theme under which synthesis of traditionally separate research domains thrives. Service research brings researchers from many disciplines together to discuss innovation, design, development, and adoption of services in diverse domains, enabled by emerging technological breakthroughs. This is essential in a multidisciplinary research organisation which aims at achieving world-class scientific breakthrough through unique combinations of competences in different research disciplines.

We have a tradition of collecting VTT’s service research contributions periodically for illustrating the versatility of service research at VTT. The previous such collection was proceedings of “VTT Symposium on Service Innovation” published in 2011. This year, we can proudly present a new collection of our service research in a form of brand new VTT Research Highlights publication. The publication provides a snapshot of recent service research contributions done at VTT.

We believe that research can contribute strongly to enhancement of organisations’ capabilities of revising their service innovation and their production structures and offerings, to the design of services that are efficient in a modern world, and to creation of new technological resources that can be used to deliver better services for all. With this publication, we illustrate VTT’s efforts toward these goals. We hope you will enjoy reading it and will join us in making a future of better services!

Minna Isomursu, Research Professor
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PhD Minna Isomursu is a research professor of social media and networked services at VTT. In her recent research projects, she has explored the opportunities of digital services in supporting wellbeing of older adults, and in creating omnichannel retail experiences. She recently collaborated on manuscript with Nokia entitled “Advise, Acknowledge, Grow and Engage – Design Principles for a Mobile Wellness Application to Support Physical Activity” (International Journal of Mobile Human Computer Studies). She currently lives in Oulu with her family and innumerous skeins of yarn waiting to be knit.