Academic journal article Innovation: Organization & Management

Identification and Management of Opportunities for Technology-Based Services: A Patent-Based Portfolio Approach

Academic journal article Innovation: Organization & Management

Identification and Management of Opportunities for Technology-Based Services: A Patent-Based Portfolio Approach

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

With the shift of the sources of industrial competitiveness from manufacturing to services, successful innovation in services is considered a key factor for organizational sustainability (Kim & Lee, 2012; Storey & Easingwood, 1999). At the same time, accelerating technological developments are also opening up tremendous opportunities for developing innovative services (Menor, Tatikonda, & Sampson, 2002; Roberts, 2000; Tseng, 2009). As a single product can no longer cope with the variety and high level of customer needs, manufacturers increasingly strive to differentiate themselves from their competition by adding services to their product offerings and furthermore to change their core competency to services based on their technologies (Robinson, Clarke-Hill, & Clarkson, 2002). It is also clear that traditional service provision is undergoing major transformations due to the infusion of technology into service encounters (Bitner, 2001). Accordingly, manufacturing firms as well as service firms have actively entered into new service areas based on technology. As is the case with IBM's change to becoming a service firm and Apple's success in the mobile service market, many global firms have sought distinctive strategies for the development of new technology-based services by taking advantage of technological progress (Kim, Park, Kim, & Lee, 2014).

However, the development of new technology-based services has been risky and is likely to be more risky than ever as markets shift rapidly, technologies proliferate unceasingly, and thus innovation cycles become shorter (Ahn & Skudlark, 2002). Consequently, concrete ways to reduce the uncertainty inherent in development of new technology-based services is required. One such attempt is the discovery of right opportunities for technology-based services, since it influences the direction of the remaining activities for development process and determines the competitiveness and financial performance of new services (Alam & Perry, 2002).

The identification of opportunities for technology-based services needs to address the following two basic questions. The first question is where the opportunities come from. The main source of opportunities for technology-based services has been customer, which means that opportunities are identified through the experiences or needs of customers (Kim, Lee, & Park, 2013; Ozdemir, Trott, & Hoecht, 2007). However, the bias to customers has a fundamental weakness in that customers may not know what they want and they are often incapable of realizing the necessity of a new service until it is delivered (Riquelme, 2001). This feature is even more prominent in technologybased services since customers do not know what they can expect from the services based on the technologies with which they are unfamiliar (Lee, Kim, & Park, 2010). Thus, considering that the sources of opportunities are diverse, a wider range of issues that cannot be recognized by customers need to be taken into account (Johne & Storey, 1998). In this respect, the use of available databases related to technology-based services can be a potential solution. The second question that needs to be answered is what method to use. Previous methods for the identification of opportunities for technologybased services include surveys (Matthing, Kristensson, Gustafsson, & Parasuraman, 2006), interviews (Shen & Ball, 2009), Delphi (Bradley & Stewart, 2002; Palo & Tähtinen, 2011), brainstorming (Senelr, Basoglu, & Daim, 2010; Theotokis, Vlachos, & Pramatari, 2008), and benchmarking (Menor & Roth, 2007). While they have proved quite useful for different purposes, they have only focused on specific types of technology-based services and result in a lack of data and quantitative methodology. Also, previous customer- and expert-centric approaches have become extremely timeconsuming and labor-intensive when applied to technology-based services characterized by multiplicity and complexity (Lee, Song, & Park, 2012). …

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