On the innovation capacity of technologyrelated knowledge-intensive business services. A case study of the technology and engineering consulting (TEC) sector in Singapore
Ojanen, Ville (2007)
Lappeenranta University of Technology,Facylty of Technology Management, Industrial Engineering Lappeenrannan teknillinen yliopisto, Teknistaloudellinen tiedekunta, Tuotantotalous
Julkaisun pysyvä osoite on
Even though the research on innovation in services has expanded remarkably especially during the past two decades, there is still a need to increase understanding on the special characteristics of service innovation. In addition to studying innovation in service companies and industries, research has also recently focused more on services in innovation, as especially the significance of so-called knowledge intensive business services (KIBS) for the competitive edge of their clients, othercompanies, regions and even nations has been proved in several previous studies. This study focuses on studying technology-based KIBS firms, and technology andengineering consulting (TEC) sector in particular. These firms have multiple roles in innovation systems, and thus, there is also a need for in-depth studies that increase knowledge about the types and dimensions of service innovations as well as underlying mechanisms and procedures which make the innovations successful. The main aim of this study is to generate new knowledge in the fragmented research field of service innovation management by recognizing the different typesof innovations in TEC services and some of the enablers of and barriers to innovation capacity in the field, especially from the knowledge management perspective. The study also aims to shed light on some of the existing routines and new constructions needed for enhancing service innovation and knowledge processing activities in KIBS companies of the TEC sector. The main samples of data in this research include literature reviews and public data sources, and a qualitative research approach with exploratory case studies conducted with the help of the interviews at technology consulting companies in Singapore in 2006. These complement the qualitative interview data gathered previously in Finland during a larger research project in the years 2004-2005. The data is also supplemented by a survey conducted in Singapore. The respondents for the survey by Tan (2007) were technology consulting companies who operate in the Singapore region. The purpose ofthe quantitative part of the study was to validate and further examine specificaspects such as the influence of knowledge management activities on innovativeness and different types of service innovations, in which the technology consultancies are involved. Singapore is known as a South-east Asian knowledge hub and is thus a significant research area where several multinational knowledge-intensive service firms operate. Typically, the service innovations identified in the studied TEC firms were formed by several dimensions of innovations. In addition to technological aspects, innovations were, for instance, related to new client interfaces and service delivery processes. The main enablers of and barriers to innovation seem to be partly similar in Singaporean firms as compared to the earlier study of Finnish TEC firms. Empirical studies also brought forth the significance of various sources of knowledge and knowledge processing activities as themain driving forces of service innovation in technology-related KIBS firms. A framework was also developed to study the effect of knowledge processing capabilities as well as some moderators on the innovativeness of TEC firms. Especially efficient knowledge acquisition and environmental dynamism seem to influence the innovativeness of TEC firms positively. The results of the study also contributeto the present service innovation literature by focusing more on 'innovation within KIBs' rather than 'innovation through KIBS', which has been the typical viewpoint stressed in the previous literature. Additionally, the study provides several possibilities for further research.