A proposal for a structured approach for cross-company teamwork: a case study of involving the customer in service innovation
Journal article, 2011

This paper outlines the results of a project aiming to develop and apply methods for service co-creation with customers, focusing on the early phases of service development. The project is collaboration between a manufacturing firm in the automotive industry, one of their B2Bcustomers (a transportation firm), as well as a university, all in Sweden. The research team selected and developed methods and work practices for problem analysis, idea generation, development and evaluation of services. Thus doing, methodological influence was taken from the area of engineering design. The proposed approaches were applied in a service development experiment mainly based on workshops. The experiment was followed up by an analysis of the resulting output, an interview series, and an evaluation by peers in focus groups. The goal of this article is to answer the following research questions: (1) What is the industrial applicability of co-creating services using a structured approach, e.g. what are the benefits and challenges? (2)What do the different actors contribute with using this approach, and what possible factors influence the nature and quality of the actors’ contributions? (3) Based on the answers to the questions above, what aspects should be considered to support situated planning and execution of future service co-creation projects? A central conclusion is that a structured approach is industrially applicable, but it is also evident that there is no completely universal recipe for service innovation. Addressing these insights, the paper also contributes with guidelines to support the situation-adapted set-up of future service co-creation projects.



case study


Service design


Oskar Rexfelt

Chalmers, Product and Production Development, Design and Human Factors

Lars Almefelt

Chalmers, Product and Production Development, Product Development

Daniel Zackrisson

Teres Hallman

Johan Malmqvist

Chalmers, Product and Production Development, Product Development

MariAnne Karlsson

Chalmers, Product and Production Development, Design and Human Factors

Research in Engineering Design - Theory, Applications, and Concurrent Engineering

0934-9839 (ISSN) 1435-6066 (eISSN)

Vol. 22 3 153-171

Subject Categories

Other Mechanical Engineering

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Innovation and entrepreneurship

Areas of Advance




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