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User-involved service innovation – three perspectives on co-creation


Publication Type:

Licentiate Thesis


Scholars suggest that the involvement of customers and other stakeholders in the innovation process is a key success factor and makes companies more competitive. This thesis work is built on the research of Kristensson, Gustafsson, and Archer (2004) suggesting that ordinary users and/or customers are capable of developing ideas that are more innovative than those of professional service developers. As a consequence, more and more organisations alter their innovation strategy accordingly. In order for a company to improve innovation processes, it is vital to foster a practice that is open to external ideas and knowledge. However, when external ideas meet internal innovation practices, complex organisational situations arise. New roles for those involved affect hierarchies and knowledge sharing opportunities. This thesis discusses three different perspectives on the same process. The different perspectives provide an opportunity to study both individual and structural challenges. This research aims to identify the challenges that an organisation faces during the transformational processes implied by the adjustment from a traditional product innovation structure to an open service innovation culture. The theoretical aim is to problematise dimensions of openness, both on an individual level and on a structural level, based on these insights. In order to problematise openness, this qualitative study involves two main cases and three confirmation cases. It aims to determine how users and other external parties, top management, and middle managers experience open innovation processes for an increased understanding of co-creation in practice. The results describe interactions between organisations and users or external stakeholders, as well as internal interactions within the organisation. Top management is dedicated to the idea of increased openness, but detect structural issues that need to be addressed in order to implement user-involved innovation. Among middle management, some individual aspects such as attitudes and relational issues matter, as well as organisational structures and practices. Users have mixed opinions about their participation in the process. Favourable experiences, such as benevolence and deepened relationships, are balanced by unfavourable experiences such as incapability and intrusion. Different dimensions of openness regarding open innovation practice as well as a relationship approach are discussed. In this work a relational focus is emphasised, where innovation involves multiple interactions and on-going conversational learning.   The findings can assist managers in their work to create conditions for open innovation. Managers can benefit from this research by developing a better understanding of how different stakeholders experience co-creation of value. This is relevant for innovation managers in the process of redesigning innovation processes as it can help them to understand different aspects of the interactions involved.


author = {Carina Sj{\"o}din},
title = {User-involved service innovation – three perspectives on co-creation},
month = {November},
year = {2015},
url = {}