Innovation and new technologies are increasingly the driving force behind the growth of many service firms. Knowledge-intensive services in particular have grown much faster in recent years than other sectors of the economy.
Innovation in services, however, differs in some ways from innovation in manufacturing:
- New services rely less on research and development, and more on external knowledge and investments in new equipment.
- The protection of intellectual assets is more difficult in services compared to manufacturing, this is why service firms rarely apply for a patent.
- The provision of new services is often less scalable than in the case of physical products, and increases in output are limited by the available human capital of the firm.
- The development of the skills and competences of the employees of the firm is of paramount importance for the success of service innovation.
AIT has analyzed innovation activities in the service sector and service innovations for the industry in several projects:
- Service Innovations in Austria
- The Contribution of Public and Private Services to European Growth and Welfare, and the Role of Public-Private Innovation Networks (ServPPIN). A collaborative research project co-financed by the EU 7th Framework Programme.
- EU wholesale trade: Analysis of the sector and value chains. Study for the European Commission, DG GROWTH, Brussels.
- Convergence of knowledge intensive sectors and the EUs external competitiveness. Background Report for the 2011 European Competitiveness Report. European Commission, DG Enterprise and Industry.
- Social Innovation: Driving Force of Social Change (SI-DRIVE). A collaborative research project co-financed by the EU 7th Framework Programme.